Afghan Returns Resume From Pakistan
United Nations-facilitated repatriations of registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan have resumed after a three-month pause during the winter months.
The Pakistani government has given Afghans until the end of the month to return to Afghanistan, warning that their Proof of Registration cards will expire in April.
The government has repeatedly extended the deadline but this year the extension was shorter than expected, increasing pressure on Afghans to return.
There are approximately 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan, as well as an estimated 1 million unregistered Afghans.
The U.N. refugee agency, which helps organize the returns and give returnees a cash grant, stressed that the returns must be voluntary, safe and gradual.
Education Workers Killed in Central African Republic
A group of humanitarian workers and local officials were killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) while trying to establish an education program for refugee children.
The U.N. children’s fund, UNICEF, said an education consultant, two education ministry officials and three people working with Bangui Sans Frontieres, a UNICEF partner, were killed. They were all nationals of the CAR.
They were attacked en route to Markounda, near the border with Chad, where they had planned to set up a teacher training program. Some 7,000 people are sheltering from warring militias in the town. Around one-quarter of the CAR’s population has been displaced by violence.
No Refugees Have Returned to Greece From Germany Under Dublin Rules
Greece has not readmitted any refugees from Germany since it announced last summer that returns under Dublin rules would resume.
Under the Dublin treaty, refugees must apply for asylum in the first European Union country they enter. Returning refugees to Greece under these rules was suspended from 2011 to 2017 due to conditions in their home nation.
Since the suspension was lifted, Germany has requested Greece take responsibility for 2,312 cases. Athens said it will assume responsibility for 81 of those, but none have yet returned to Greece. The figures were released by the German ministry of interior in response to a request by Germany’s Left party.
Similarly, Germany has requested Hungary accept 3,304 cases, but no refugees have yet returned to the country, which has refused to accept any asylum seekers under E.U. refugee schemes.
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