|Urban Afghan refugees:||269,583
|Unregistered Afghans (estimated):||250,000|
|Main areas of Origin:||East, west, south, central & northern Afghanistan|
|Ethnicities of Afghans:||Pashtun:||88%|
|Housing situation:||Majority living in rented houses while a small number have leased lands and have constructed their own shelters.|
|Additional Observations:||Frequent / seasonal cross border movement towards Afghanistan|
The committee members in each team were provided trainings, skills and information on UNHCR mandate, its protection and assistance for the persons of concern. Communal locations like Hujras or Schools are utilized in the Urban setting, but the tense security situation and the imposition of administrative orders seriously undermines these committees planned activities.
In addition, these committees effectiveness could be additionally improved with better coordination with the administrative and security counterparts within government. Greater engagement with government could provide the necessary legal framework for the functioning of the established refugee communal structures.
The key issues in Peshawar are land ownership and rental agreements and the relatively high cost of living in urban areas coupled with limited external assistance from government or the international humanitarian community.
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. This has resulted in a significant increase in 2015 of raids of locations in which Afghan refugees reside, resulting in elevated numbers of arrests, detentions and deportations. Financial extortion by the host population is also reported to be on the increase.
In Peshawar, Advice and Legal Aid Centres (ALAC), media campaigns and frequent meetings with the authorities on all levels are underway to find an amicable solution to the heightened tensions. In addition, the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) programe initiatives continue to be designed to promote peaceful coexistence.
The refugee community at large is aware of all the activities and services available. The most effective communication channels continue to be outreach visits and helpline services.
Further formalising and empowering the refugee committees would help to resolve the issues noted above as well as greater outreach by UNHCR and partner organisations.
- 400 primary schools
- 58 middle schools
- 38 secondary schools
- 13 colleges
- 7 universities
There are a number of private schools, with the most well known including Beacon House network of schools, Peshawar Model network, Peshawar public and police and army public schools and colleges. Peshawar hosts many other private colleges and institutes / universities.
In addition, there are 141 schools dedicated for Afghans and these are normally located outside of the city centre close to or within refugee villages (former camps).
A small number of Afghans students have received support through DAFI scholarships in order to attend university. UNHCR has also supported an Afghan teachers training institute. There have been several education projects in the RAHA programme, primarily focussed on the rehabilitation of, construction of additional class rooms in and provision of furniture to government schools.
In Peshawar, Afghans are admitted to government schools if places are available. However, given a chronic shortage of schools in Peshawar, in practise this means very few Afghan students actually attend government schools (one estimate by PAIMAN is that only 3-4% of Afghan children attend government schools at present). The lack of capacity is particularly acute for girls.
In colleges and universities a quota system is enforced, with 2 places available for Afghans in each university department and 5 places in each year group in colleges.
Afghans have highlighted that the enrolment procedure is bureaucratic and many refugee families often do not have the required documentation at hand.
There are also significant differences between the Afghan and Pakistani curriculums.
As noted in the posts on livelihoods, many refugee families live in extreme poverty and are forced to send their children to work, greatly increasing the dropout rates recorded in schools. The financial pressures also force families to choose which children to enrol in school, with boys tending to be enrolled much more often than girls. That said, culturally, male members of the household are also encouraged to contribute to the household income, with the result that some children have to work after school in the evening / at night.
Recommendations from the Afghan community to improve education services in Peshawar include:
- Free primary education and improving the accessibility of girls schools (by constructing more schools or improving transport connections).
- Advocacy within the refugee community about the benefits of their children attending school.
- Additional middle schools as well as one more higher secondary school, especially for girls.
- An informal education / accelerated learning program for those children involved in child labour. This will help develop children’s skills and provide constructive alternatives to their current, often very dangerous employment.
- Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH),
- Lady Reading Hospital (LRH),
- Hayatabad Medical Complex,
- Kidney Centre,
- One police and one Combined military hospitals,
- 16 BHUs,
- 9 Mother and Child Health centres,
- 1 District Headquarter Hospital (DHQH) and
- 1 Tehsil Headquarter Hospital
Private hospitals include:
- Rehman Medical Institute,
- Kuwait Teaching Hospital,
- Naseer Teaching hospital,
- Johar Khatoon,
- City Hospital.
Others notable health centres are: Paraplegic, PIPOS, Fauji Foundation, Al-khidmat Foundation, Frontier Foundation, Molvi Jee Hospital, Marcy Hospital and many private medical complexes and hospitals including Khyber medical complex and various other childrens hospitals. A branch of Shaukat Khanum memorial is also under construction.
A District Health Profile was conducted by PAIMAN in 2009. Since then, the following projects have been conducted within the RAHA programme:
- Rehabilitation works in the gynaecological ward and installation of an incinerator at Khyber Teaching Hospital, in 2013.
- Construction of GAIT analysis lab at PIPOS for artificial limbs.
- Construction of a gynaecological ward in the Hayatabad Medical Complex.
- Constructed/Rehabilitated 13 labour rooms at Basic Health Units.
Refugees and unregistered Afghan migrants generally can access public hospitals without prejudice. However, those Afghans that are admitted normally have to pay for the same services that are free for the host community (e.g. Hepatitis and Thalassemia).
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.
Legal assistance is provided by SACH via three satellite units in Peshawar city. The lawyers provide free assistance to the cases identified under the section 14 Foreigners act or the 55/109 act. Typically, these cases are identified through calls received on UNHCR’s protection helpline.
The RAHA programme in Peshawar has included several advocacy events as well as mass information dissemination to better support interaction between Afghans and their host communities.
Community based mechanisms vis-a-vis legal assistance is non-existent, primarily due to scattered nature of the refugee population in Peshawar, with the two nationalities often living alongside one another. Nevertheless, in a few locations of the city, refugees do tend to live in more homogenous groups, and in these areas the traditional Jirga mechanism is in place for internal conflict resolution.
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.
Carpet weaving is primarily considered to be a vocation conducted by Hazara and Turkman minorities. Those refugees that are self-employed typically are in transport, hotel, farming, livestock rearing, beekeeping, handicrafts and brick production businesses.
The average monthly income for income earning Afghans ranges between PKR 6,500 to PKR 12,500 compared with the Pakistani average of approximately 21,000 PKR. Refugee household income in Peshawar ranges from 11,000 to 16,500 PKR (PPVR 2011). Refugees living further away from the centre of Peshawar tend to earn less.
Many children also work and typically earn between 100 and 300 PKR a day (1 to 3 USD). Adult daily wage labourers typically earn 300 to 500 PKR a day (3 to 5 USD).
Many refugees receive remittances from family or friends living abroad.
Many livelihoods and vocation skills trainings have been conducting in Peshawar as part of the RAHA programme. See explore.rahapakistan.org for details of these projects.
Barriers identified by refugees to setting up their own businesses include a lack of initial capital, poor linkages between businesses in the market place, expensive raw materials and tools.
Refugees, men and women, have requested microfinancing schemes, vocational trainings, small scale enterprises loans and business support schemes. Refugees also direly need to be able to open bank accounts, which is currently not included in the refugees’ rights in Pakistan. In KP changes to the law governing rental legal agreements has resulted in refugees face greater difficulties in finding appropriate premises to rent.
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.
SACH, SHARP and DRC provide counselling for SGBV survivors and a protection referral network is active in Peshawar.
There are many social protection providers in Peshawar, including the following organisations:
- Noor Education Trust (NET),
- Halfway shelter home (a project of Ministry of Social Welfare and Women Development),
- Pakistan Red Crescent Society,
- United Rural Development Organization (URDO),
- Salik Development Foundation (SDF),
- Human Resource Organization (HRO),
- Al-Khidmat Foundation Pakistan,
- De Laas Gul (DLG),
- Human Concern International (HCI),
- Fatimid Foundation,
- DOST Foundation,
- Khyber Eye Foundation (KEF),
- PIPOS-Patient Care Centre, Phase V, Hayatabad, Peshawar. Telephone: 091-9217150 (Artificial Limb centre, Khyber Teaching Hospital, Peshawar),
- RCPD, Peshawar, Umeed Abad No. 2, Swati Gate, Peshawar, Pakistan (P.O. Box 201). Telephone: +92-91-5252618 / +92-91-5252618,
- Network for Human & Social Development (NHSD),
- International Medical Corps (IMC),
- Family Planning Association of Pakistan (FPAP),
- Health sector Reforms Unit, KP,
- Provincial MNCH Program,
- Centre of Excellence for Rural Development CERD,
- International Rescue Committee (IRC),
- Pakistan Initiative for Mothers and Newborns (PAIMAN),
- Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC),
- Resource Organization for Advancement & Development (ROAD),
- Participatory Village Development Programme (PVDP),
- United Nation population Fund (UNFPA),
- Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP),
- Child welfare Commission (CPWC),
- FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA),
- World Food Programme (WFP),
- Islamic Relief (IR),
- Youth Resource Centre (YRC),
- The Education Health Social Awareness’ and Rehabilitation Foundation (EHSAR),
- Justice Peace Initiative,
- Peace and Development Organization (PADO),
- Tribal Women Welfare Association,
- De Laas Gul (DLG),
- Khwendo Kor (KK),
- Aurat Foundation (AF),
- Shirat Gah,
- Blue Veins,
- Association for Behaviour and Knowledge Transformation (ABKT),
- Khpal Kor Foundation (KKF) Swat-shelter home,
- The Hawa Loor,
- Special Education Complex,
- Aware Girl Organization,
- Pak Khyber Welfare Organization,
- Poverty Eradication Initiative,
- Community Motivation Development Organization (CMDO),
- Government Institute for Blind (boys),
- Just Peace International (JPI),
- Hamza Foundation Peshawar,
- Awan Raza Khalil Firm,
- Tanzeem Lisail Walmehroom,
- Women Crisis Center,
- Mary Stopes Society
Constructive improvements in Peshawar include:
- Creating an education facility and livelihoods opportunities for refugees with specific needs.
- Greater involvement and empowerment of refugees with specific needs in community activities
- As noted in the section on livelihoods, skills trainings, general capacity building and support for youths and small business startups via business loans would all benefit people with disabilities in these communities.
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.
Specifically, the following localities have a shortage of potable water supplies:
- Regi Lalma
- Shagai Hinkiyan
- Nishat Mill
- Aslam Dairay
- Rasheed Garay
The shortage of water and sewerage has been exacerbated by reported poor maintenance as well as the ongoing energy crisis.