Legal assistance – Quetta / Balochistan

SEHER and CRS operate two ILAC (Information and Legal Aid Centres) in urban Quetta since mid 2010. Similar projects have existed since 2002.

The legal assistance provided includes representation in court for foreigners act cases, legal information to PoR card holders, awareness on the rights and obligations of refugees through outreach activities by community mobilizers. It also includes holding meetings with the refugee community and sensitizing them on issues related to PoR card renewal and modification and registering the births of their children.

SEHER also conducts training for law enforcement authorities including visits to prison and police stations and FIA detention centres for meeting and interviewing both PoR and non-PoR card holders and to identity if any the detainees have asylum claims for onwards referral to UNHCR.

Other activities include a monthly radio programmes in which various legal issues affecting Afghans are highlighted, particularly relating to the PoR cards and services and refugees’ stay in the country of asylum.

Community based Jirga mechanisms and traditional resolution of grievances are available in the community. These also include local mullahs and elders who mediate and resolve issues arising in the community such as family grievances, dissolution of marriages, custody of minors by parents, and more general community issues. Refugee communities do CRS and SEHER roles as mediator. SEHER also maintains a network of community volunteers who raise any legal issues arising in the community with SEHER.

In Quetta, there is a surprising lack of awareness among the law enforcement agencies and relevant government stakeholders regarding the PoR cards (Proof of Registration identity cards) and refugees’ rights more generally.