Over the last four decades, millions of Afghans have been driven out of their homes and their country by conflict, violence and poverty. The vast majority of them are in the Islamic Republics of Pakistan and Iran, which continue to host over 1.4 million and 950,000 registered Afghan refugees respectively. Both countries also host millions of Afghans who have left in search of better economic opportunities or access to services.
Over 5.2 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan since 2002. While voluntary repatriation has decreased in recent years due to deteriorating security situation and persisting lack of absorption capacity, Afghan refugees continue to return. In addition, OCHA estimates that more than 4 million people who have been displaced since 2012 remain displaced from their homes. This situation is reflected in the humanitarian community’s decision to move to a needs- rather than status-based approach to assistance to IDPs.
Returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are often living side by side with local communities that require support and significant investment is needed to ensure that the needs of communities as a whole are met
Criteria for selecting PARR locations
National priorities: alignment with National Policy Framework for Returnees and IDPs, the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework, the Citizens’ Charter, geographical and ethnic balance
Access: security environment allows UNHCR and partners to be present
Sustainability: key elements for reintegration present (land, basic services, proximity to population centres and markets, livelihoods)
Cohesion: benefits reach all people in area, focusing on ensuring the long-term sustainable reintegration of all returnees within their communities.
Within the framework of the regional Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), UNHCR continues to facilitate a protection and solutions dialogue between the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. As part of this process, the Government of Afghanistan has committed to renewed efforts to advance sustainable reintegration of displaced Afghans, in alignment with the national development plans. To support these commitments, in 2018, the Government of Afghanistan formally endorsed the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), which together support multi-stakeholder efforts to address the root causes of displacement. The four key objectives of the GCR are: easing pressure on host countries and host communities, enhancing self-reliance, expanding access to third-country solutions for refugees, and supporting conditions in countries of origin to facilitate return in safety and dignity.