Analysis by Sector

 

  • In general, Afghan refugee communities co-exist peacefully with host communities. In some specific locations, such as Swabi, relationships are slightly more strained.
  • Afghan refugee communities tend to have committees who help raise awareness of issues affecting the communities with CAR and UNHCR and in turn disseminate information on services that are available to the community. In some specific locations such as Swabi and Mansehra, there are no organized committees and in other locations (e.g. Islamabad and Rawalpindi), better coordination with host communities would improve the utility of e.g. RAHA projects.
  • There is a general need for UNHCR and CAR to improve outreach to communities in urban areas.
  • It remains difficult to communicate directly with women as most committees are led by men.

 

  • Most Afghan refugee children in urban areas attend primary schools, normally community-run private schools. Often, the fees charged by these schools are a barrier to entry.
  • Relatively few Afghan children attend public schools due to the quota systems in operation and also in some cases, the children’s lack of documentation (particularly birth certificates), although many wish to. In specific locations, e.g. Karachi, it is more difficult for Afghan refugee A children to attend Pakistani public schools as these services are seen to only be available for Pakistanis.
  • Schools are almost universally overcrowded, with insufficient teachers, teaching materials and poor quality facilities.
  • Secondary school attendance is far lower due to limited availability of Afghan schools and difficulties accessing Pakistani educational services above 10th grade.
  • Girls’ enrolment rates are lower and dropout rates higher than for boys, especially once girls reach the age of puberty.
  • Issues with the compatibility of Afghan and Pakistani curriculums limit the usefulness of attending Pakistani schools for the children of families who intend to return to Afghanistan; at the same time, the PPVR survey had established that families with educated children are more likely to return.
  • Adult or older children “catch up” classes would be considered useful within the communities.

 

  • Access to hospitals and dispensaries is often denied to Afghan refugees, particularly in government-run hospitals in KP, Sindh and Punjab. In Quetta, on the other hand, many Afghans cross the border specifically to access the better Pakistani facilities and no discrimination is perceived.
  • Services in private hospitals are considered too expensive by most Afghan refugees.

 

  • Jirga systems are still the most widespread approach to resolving disputes between and within Afghan communities.
  • Advice and legal aid centres run by partners of UNHCR are available in most locations, but information about this service not always available especially among refugee women, who would need to take action when their husbands are arrested/detained.
  • The communities stressed the need to sensitize the local police to the legal status of Afghan refugees and to develop better linkages between Afghan community elders and the local police to enhance their protection.

 

  • In most areas, Afghan refugees are only involved in poorly paid manual work, e.g. daily labourers, bonded labour in brick kilns or scavenging for recyclable material.
  • In part this is due to the PoR card not being generally accepted as sufficient to allow the bearer to work in Pakistan restricting refugees to work in more informal sectors and making them vulnerable to exploitation. However, the lack of skills and education among the working age Afghan refugee population is another main factor, which also impacts on their preparedness to return.
  • There are specific success stories, e.g. carpet weavers in areas of Punjab and drivers in Peshawar.
  • Some skills trainings are being undertaken and there is a strong demand for further such trainings.

 

  • There is a lack of awareness of human rights, particularly amongst women.
  • Only limited support with sporadic referral mechanisms are currently available for SGBV survivors, which coupled with the risk to be ostracized by their community, results in significant underreporting of cases.
  • Access to governmental child protection institutes is often restricted due to the children’s refugee status.
  • Hearing aids, wheelchairs and other equipment to support the disabled are generally unavailable to these communities.
  • Community projects run by organizations based in the communities themselves where highlighted as best practice, e.g. specific programmes for youth and adolescents.

 

  • In most locations, police and, occasionally, community-led security services are present. Only in more remote locations, including Chitral and Malakand, was the non-availability of security highlighted as a particular issue.
  • It was noted that harassment from police in all areas has increased since December 2014.
  • Smaller groups of urban refugees often felt isolated and insecure (e.g. Mirpur, Lower and Upper Dir).

 

  • Clean drinking water, organized sanitation infrastructure and training on limiting water wastage and hygienic practices were universal concerns in all urban Afghan refugee communities.
  • WASH stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene