The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has announced an increase in assistance package for registered Afghan refugee families, who are opting to return to Afghanistan under the UNHCR facilitated voluntary return progamme.
He said this in a statement issued on the concluded first tri-nation visit to Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, said a press release on Wednesday.
While commending Pakistan’s generosity for hosting one of the world’s largest refugee populations, the high commissioner said that the international community needs to support solutions in Afghanistan through robust development investments.
Grandi said, “Traditional approaches to solving protracted refugee situations were not enough and therefore there is a need for innovative solutions.”
The high commissioner reassured that the Pakistani leadership of UNHCR’s would continue support in assisting the 1.5 million Afghan refugees currently residing in the country.
As an immediate step, he announced to double the existing individual assistance package for returnees from an average of $200 to $400 per person.
Grandi confirmed to upscale programmes for refugee hosting communities through the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) initiative in Pakistan and to support Afghanistan in implementing its plans to create conducive conditions for sustainable return and reintegration in high return areas.
During his interaction with Pakistani counterparts, the high commissioner said, “Complementary to robust community based development initiatives in Afghanistan, the doubling of the currently provided repatriation grant for returning Afghan refugees will help support voluntary repatriation and sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan, as the preferred solution and key objective of the solutions strategy for Afghan refugees which entered the second stage of its implementation in 2015-17.”