Today, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) published the Country of Origin Information (COI) report “Pakistan – Situation of Afghan refugees”. The report provides relevant information on the situation of registered and unregistered Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
Afghanistan has a long history of protracted international displacement, and historically, there has always been movement of persons and groups across the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The developments in the recent history of Afghanistan have generated successive waves of displacement of Afghan refugees to Pakistan. According to sources interviewed for this report in February 2020, although there is no reliable data available on the population of Afghan refugees in the country, nearly three million Afghan refugees (registered and unregistered) are currently being hosted by Pakistan. The majority of Afghan refugees in Pakistan are children and adolescents who are born and raised in the country.
The report provides a brief historical overview of Afghan migration to Pakistan. It describes the legal status of Afghans living in Pakistan and its impact on their ability to access education, employment, health services, housing, financial and communication services, and legal aid. Furthermore, the report provides information on the attitude of the Government of Pakistan as well as on the general attitude of Pakistan’s population towards Afghan refugees.
As of mid-2019, the majority of registered Afghan refugees continued to be hosted by Pakistan (1.4 million), while Afghanistan remained the second largest country of origin of refugees in the world, with 2.7 million refugees in the first half of 2019. Afghans continued to be the second most common citizenship of asylum applicants in the EU+ as of March 2020.
This report was drafted by a Country of Origin Information (COI) specialist from the Belgian Centre for Documentation and Research (Cedoca) in the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, in accordance with the EASO COI Report Methodology. It was reviewed by experts from France, Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless persons (OFPRA), Germany, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), and ACCORD, the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation.
The information presented in this report results from desk research of public specialised paper-based and electronic sources. In addition, it draws on interviews conducted by the COI specialist from Cedoca with international organisations and local actors during its fact-finding mission in February 2020 in Islamabad and Peshawar.
Photo: © European Union/ECHO/Pierre Prakash