Based on a survey by the population welfare department KP in March 2007
|Urban Afghan refugees:||25,919
|Unregistered Afghans (estimated):||34,500|
|Main areas of Origin:||Baghlan, Logar, Kabul, Parwan, Jalalabad and Laghman in Afghanistan|
|Ethnicities of Afghans:||Pashtun:||95%|
|Housing situation:||95% of refugees live in rented houses while 5% own houses.|
|Additional Observations:||Significant seasonal cross border movement towards Afghanistan.|
- 781 primary schools (432 for boys and 349 for girls)
- 91 middle schools (47 for boys and 44 for girls)
- 92 secondary schools (65 for boys and 27 for girls)
- 18 higher secondary schools (9 for boys and 9 for girls)
- 129 primary schools
- 122 middle schools
- 95 secondary schools
- 20 higher secondary schools
There have been several education projects within the RAHA programme, including the construction of 18 additional classrooms, 9 latrines, the provision of furniture and more general rehabilitation of schools.
Refugee communities in Nowshera are generally not encouraged to enrol their children in government schools as there is very limited capacity (too little even for the host community alone). The lack of capacity is particularly acute for girls.
Education facilities in Nowshera could be improved by:
- Awareness raising campaigns within the refugee community on the importance of Education
- Improving the access of Afghan children to government schools, potentially by further extension or rehabilitation of schools through additional RAHA projects.
- Assisting parents who cannot afford their children receive education (see also the notes on child labour in the livelihoods posts).
- 1 District hospital,
- 1 Tertiary hospital (MRHSM in PABBI),
- 2 Civil Hospitals (Category D – AKORA KHATAK & ZIYARAT KAKA SAHIB),
- 6 Rural Health Centres (RHC),
- 16 Civil dispensaries,
- 3 Mother and Child health centres,
- 1 Sub health Centres,
- 30 Basic Health Units (BHU),
- 1 TB Clinic,
- At least 150 Private Hospitals and Clinics (EDO estimate)
There are many organisation supporting the government in the health sector in Nowshera, including: CHIP, Merlin, IRC, Johanniter, Flower, Youth Catalyst Pakistan, URDO, CAMP and BDN.
There have been a number of projects within the RAHA programme in the health sector ranging from the provision of equipment, sterilized tools, furniture and refrigerators to the construction of labour rooms and maternity centres.
Afghan refugees are admitted to government health facilities without prejudice, though unregistered Afghan migrants generally cannot access public hospitals.
The refugee community would benefit from greater awareness of common health problems and how they can be mitigated.
Critical gaps in the provision of legal assistance in KP are the absence of key legal entitlements associated with PoR cards, a lack of clear policy and the absence of a mechanism for the management of urban refugee population. There are also legal obstacles for Afghan refugees to present surety bonds in the courts.
Sensitisation of the local authorities, law enforcement agencies and general population is required on refugees’ rights.
It is reported by refugees that the newly established dispute resolution councils operating in each police station are not working effectively, possibly as they are only staffed by Pakistanis. In general, there is a lack of refugee friendly policing initiatives in KP.
There is need to develop more interaction and coordination between urban refugees and host communities. Raising awareness in the urban refugee communities about the legal services that are provided in their area could well help.
New provincial laws regulating rental agreements for rented accommodation does not include provision for the PoR cardholders, disadvantaging them.
Nevertheless, there is great interest amongst refugees, including female refugees, for livelihoods trainings on topics as diverse as marketing, bricklaying, embroidery and finishing techniques in dress making.
While some of the specific trainings noted in each district help improve the livelihoods of Afghan refugees, three more strategic steps that would positively impact on the livelihoods of Afghan refugees in Pakistan are as follows:
- Advocacy by UNHCR on the provision of official work permits for refugees.
- Refugees become eligible for enrolment in government vocational training institutes.
- Development of linkages between skilled Afghan youth and potential employers.
Compared with other districts, refugees in Nowshera are relatively poor.
Vocational trainings have been conducted for 130 women and 180 men in the RAHA programme.
Additional livelihoods and vocational skills trainings are regularly requested by refugees in this district.
Firstly, many refugee children are sent to work by their parents who are often forced into this situation due to extreme poverty. Even those children that do attend school during the day often still have to work in the evening / at night. The parents are generally unaware of the hazards and protection risks child labour presents. Greater advocacy both at national policy level and within communities raising awareness about these risks is required.
Secondly, the identification of child protection, domestic violence, early and forced marriages and SGBV issues are severely constrained by the cultural norms within the Afghan refugee and host communities. As a result these issues are substantially underreported. Advocacy within communities raising awareness about basic human rights is required.
Particularly in relation to SGBV incidents, due to cultural / societal taboos, many refugee SGBV survivors are themselves unwilling or unable to seek external help. Often if they do, they are stigmatised within the community. Furthermore, refugee women often do not perceive violence as an offense against them or a violation of their rights. Rather these acts are often considered by refugee women as a practice to be endured. The promotion of women’s rights within these communities is a clear priority. While most Afghans are not willing to discuss such sensitive topics openly, a way needs to be found to effectively raise awareness of SGBV and women’s health services within the Afghan community.
Thirdly, most communities neglect to include women and children in decision making processes. Greater participation of these two groups would help refugees to build stronger, more inclusive communities. Unfortunately, it has been reported that even the organisations providing these services often lack awareness on the importance of equal opportunities for women, which is reflected in these organisations employing more men than women. General protection oriented trainings are required by partner organisations.
Fourthly, a discriminatory attitude by services providers towards non-Pakistanis attempting to avail their services has been reported in a number of districts. General protection oriented trainings for these service providers would help improve the impartiality and neutrality of these services.
Lastly, discrimination because of disabilities is very prevalent and mental health issues in particular are often not diagnosed. Again, advocacy on these issues within refugee communities is direly needed.
The child protection unit of the child welfare commission is active in identifying and resolving child protection issues regardless of the children’s nationality or area of origin.
Committees of adolescents have been formed by the child protection unit in government schools. Sessions have included body protection awareness.
Direct intervention on the legal issues of children are investigated by child protection officers and lawyers within the child protection unit. A budget of 40,000 PKR per month is made available to fulfil the needs of children requiring protection related assistance.
A strong referral mechanism has been developed with government departments and national and international organizations. The referral mechanism is encapsulated in a binding memorandum of understanding which has been signed by all government departments.
In Nowshera, the Deputy Commissioner provides oversight for child protection cases including:
- Ensure children including orphans, street children, out-of-school and children involved in child labour are going to schools.
- Reunification of separated, unaccompanied and run away children with their parents / guardians.
- Rehabilitation and psychosocial support of children with disabilities, drug addiction or who have experienced traumatic situations.
- Resolve legal issues e.g. child marriage, juvenile injustice, violence, abuse, birth registration etc.
- Investigate and resolve other child protection issues e.g. corporal punishment, trafficking and kidnapping.
Funding remains tight for all organisations involved in child protection activities in Nowshera.
No organised communal security structures are in place in any urban area throughout KP province.
After the tragic 16 December 2014 terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, the government and host population attitudes to Afghan refugees has hardened. Additional local policing was introduced in several urban areas to improve the security situation, but there have been allegations of harassment and financial extortion by these additional police. In addition, the police themselves have been targeted by opposition militias and the Taliban. As a result, the number of casualties due to security incidents has increased in several refugee communities, particularly in localities in the south of Peshawar. Also, notably, humanitarian polio vaccination teams have been targeted.
Urban areas have often received relatively less support than refugees residing in refugee villages (former camps).
The loose communal structures and ad hoc refugee committees in various areas with significant refugee populations are not recognised by any government organisations. Despite continued capacity building efforts by UNHCR of policy makers, police, the judiciary, the high level district management and the security agencies, many government officials remain unaware of refugee rights and Pakistan’s obligations under international law.
Unilateral actions by law enforcement agencies including the closure of refugee villages (former camps), evictions, harassment, arrest, detention and deportation of the registered Afghans has become a common practice. It is fair to say that the prolonged poor security situation in KP has had a very detrimental impact on many local communities, whether Pakistani or Afghan or both.
Local law enforcement agencies also lack up-to-date tools to verify PoR cards at e.g. check posts.
With respect to unregistered Afghan migrants, there are currently no reliable estimates of how many reside in KP. Typically, they live in scattered communities with little unity between different tribal groups. They have limited information regarding social and legal services and are often wary of availing these services in fear of being deported under the foreigners act when they attend a particular service.
Particular security issues in Nowshera are excessive harassment by police of Afghan refugees and unregistered migrants.
SHARP and SACH (UNHCR IPs) both provide legal advice and assistance in this district. The Jirga system for resolving issues is also actively attended by both Pakistani and Afghan elders.