Category: Charsadda

Community Structures – Charsadda

In Charsadda, while there are no community structures for refugees in urban settings, the general relationship with the host community is good.

Most refugees in this area have no knowledge about their rights or about organizations working for their betterment.

The refugees overall situation in this area could be improved by raising awareness within the community about refugee rights.

Education – Charsadda

In Charsadda, the total number of public (government) schools is as follows:

  • 1,001 Primary schools (550 for boys and 451 for girls)
  • 109 Middle Schools (56 for boys and 53 for girls)
  • 96 Secondary Schools (63 for boys and 33 for girls)
  • 22 Higher Secondary (13 for boys and 9 for girls)
  • 1 Prang Degree College (both boys and girls)
  • Bacha Khan University

Private Education Facilities:

  • Primary (76 Male/Female)
  • Middle (146 male/female)
  • Secondary (161 male/female)

Within the RAHA programme, there have been a few education projects in Charsadda, including:

  • Construction of additional class rooms in Government schools along with provision of furniture.
  • Rehabilitation of existing Government school buildings.
  • Provision of computers to computer lab in one Government school.

Afghan refugee children can generally attend government schools in Charsadda. Unregistered Afghan migrants are not normally able to present the school administration with legal documentation for their children, who are therefore not normally allowed to attend school or other educational institutions.

Health – Charsadda

Public health facilities in Charsadda include:

  • 1 District Head Quarter Hospital,
  • 1 Tehsil Head Quater Hospital,
  • 3 Rural Health Centres,
  • 10 Dispensaries,
  • 43 Basic Health Units (BHU),
  • 2 Mother and Child Health Care

Private health facilities include:

  • ZAM ZAM DIAGNOSTIC CENTRE (TANGI ROAD CHARSADA),
  • HI TECH DIAGNOSTIC CENTRE (OPP GRID STATION HOSPITAL ROAD TANGI DISTRICT CHARSADDA),
  • ABASIN HOSPITAL (ABASIN HOSPITAL MICHINI ROAD SHABQADAR DISTRICT CHARSADDA),
  • AL KHAIR HOSPITAL (OPP MICHANI ROAD),
  • SHABQADAR BAZAR CHARSADDA (SHABQADAR BAZAR GONDA KATOZAI ROAD CHARSADDA),
  • Islamia Clinic (VILLAGE & P/O UMERZAI DISTRICT CHARSADDA),
  • Durrani Welfare Clinic (NISATA ADDA NOWSHERA ROAD CHARSADDA),
  • NAGUMAN WELFARE CLINIC (NAGUMAN CHOWK SHABQADAR ROAD CHARSADDA)

The BHUs are located within refugee villages outside of Charsadda and are available also to urban refugees. Unregistered Afghan migrants do not access basic health facilities for fear of being deported under section 14 of the foreigners act.

Legal Assistance – KP Summary

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.

Livelihoods – Summary

The overarching issues facing refugees in Pakistan are the difficulties in accessing formal jobs due to the limited rights associated with the PoR cards and the absence of a process for requesting work permits. There is also a lack of awareness of the PoR cards in the local business community. Additionally, many refugees are stuck as daily labourers as they do not have time to learn new skills. Lastly, refugees are normally not eligible for courses run by government institutions that offer opportunities for individuals to develop specific technical skills.

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:

  1. Advocacy by UNHCR on the provision of official work permits for refugees.
  2. Refugees become eligible for enrolment in government vocational training institutes.
  3. Development of linkages between skilled Afghan youth and potential employers.

Protection – Overarching

Five crosscutting social protection issues have been identified in all districts and are highlighted here.

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.

Protection – Charsadda

In Charsadda, there are no specific child friendly spaces and no known projects with activities oriented towards adolescents and youth.

The child protection unit in the social welfare office is active in Charsadda. There are a number of health clinics including private clinics as well as DHQ, THQ, MCH and a number of BHUs. Afghan refugees can generally avail these services, though unregistered Afghan migrants cannot.

Community based “grass roots” organisations would help raise awareness on protection issues and provide some of the required services within the community safety net.

Security – KP in general

The urban area is administered by the regular government administrative and security structures. In late 2014, the Ministry of SAFRON and CCAR decided to establish an urban refugee management and administrative structure, with the first level of this hierarchical structure established at the central level in Islamabad. This has been supported by the SHARP / UNHCR urban outreach programme, which is focussed on raising awareness of protection issues and advocacy on the rights of the refugees.

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.

Security – Charsadda

In Charsadda, some cases have been reported that police collect PoR cards of registered Afghans and then refer them to Court under section 14 of the Foreigners Act.

There are no community watch systems in any refugee areas, whether urban or rural. Greater advocacy on refugees’ rights is required with local law enforcement agencies.

WASH – Charsadda

All Afghan refugees and unregistered Afghan migrants have access to public water distribution points.

The urban areas are more hygienic than nearby refugee villages as functioning sanitation systems are present. In the villages, open defecation is still commonly practised and the drainage systems are limited, potentially proving to be a serious health risk during the flooding that can occur during monsoon season.