Afghan refugees who returned to Afghanistan between 2014 and 2017 tend to be worse off financially and face multiple economic difficulties compared to refugees who stayed in Pakistan, the World Bank and UNHCR in Afghanistan said in a new report released on Sunday.
The report entitled “Living Conditions and Settlement Decisions of Recent Afghan Returnees” is the first joint report resulting from the collaboration between UNHCR Afghanistan and the World Bank.
The report shows that despite high poverty and limited employment opportunities, most Afghans returned to their home provinces, with Kabul and Nangarhar provinces together hosting a third of all returnees.
Afghans living in their province of origin were more likely to be employed, benefitting from established social ties. Lower access to education and healthcare services are other challenges faced by returnees and host communities, the report highlights, according to the report.
“The living conditions of Afghan returnees are extremely challenging and require deep and urgent attention,” Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan said in the reprot.
“To understand the fundamental needs and challenges Afghan returnees face in their daily lives and to identify and agree on the best ways of addressing those challenges, access to accurate data and analysis is key. Our joint report with UNHCR helps increase coordination among partners and improve the work in support of Afghan returnees,” he said.
“In 2019, we are marking 40 years of Afghan displacement, and while several programs are in place to assist returnees and facilitate their sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan much remains to be done,” Caroline Van Buren, UNHCR’s Representative in Afghanistan said.
“The data and analysis in this report will be crucial to UNHCR and our partners, including the Government of Afghanistan, as we try to improve the way we support Afghan returnees,” he said.