1.5 million Afghans choose to stay in Pakistan after withdrawing from America

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan remains the largest refugee-hosting country in Asia and the Pacific as 1.5 million Afghans still choose to live in the country, even though a year has passed since the US military’s hasty retreat from Kabul Are.

The number of refugees in the Asia-Pacific region rose by 138,400 last year and now accounts for 4.2m or 19 percent of the global refugee population, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a report released on Monday. This shows an increase of three percent as compared to 2020.

As of December 2021, the “Documentation Renewal and Information Verification Exercise” (DRIVE) found that there were 1,252,800 registered Afghans in Pakistan who had a “Proof of Registration” (PoR) card.

129,700 Unregistered Members of Registered Families (UMRF) were waiting for verification at the time of reporting.

According to official estimates, around 250,000 Afghans have entered Pakistan since August 20216.

Bangladesh is the second largest host country with 918,900 refugees, followed by Iran with 798,300 refugees.

There are more than 304,000 refugees and asylum seekers in China, of whom more than 303,000 are Vietnamese.

According to the report, 95 percent of refugees in the Asia Pacific region live in developing (low- and middle-income) countries, while only five percent of displaced people live in high-income countries.

impact on host nation

A comparison of the size of the refugee population with that of the host country gives a measure of the scale of the impact and burden of hosting refugees.

The number of refugees per 1,000 actual residents – a Global Convention on Refugees (GCR) supplementary indicator – gives a perspective of the scale of the burden in the host countries.

With 2.7 million refugees hosted by 98 countries, the Afghan refugee population remains the largest in the region and the third largest globally.

The number increased by about five percent (118,000) in 2021, driven by new registered births and new identities in Europe (59,100) and Asia-Pacific, along with neighboring countries: Pakistan (108,000) and Iran (27,800). (6,000).

Myanmar is the second largest country of origin of refugees in the Asia-Pacific and the fifth largest in the world. In 2021, the number of refugees increased by seven percent (73,800) to 1.2 million, more than three quarters of whom were hosted by Bangladesh.

The increase in 2021 was mainly due to the registration of new births, including the backlog from 2020, as registrations resumed after being suspended for two years due to COVID-19.

The number of people displaced in their own countries due to armed conflict or human rights violations continued to rise in 2021.

As of the end of 2021, there were 4.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region, a 23 percent increase compared to the end of 2020.

In the region, seven countries reported conflict-induced IDPs. The countries with the most conflict-induced IDPs by the end of 2021 were Afghanistan (3.5m), Myanmar (671,000), and the Philippines (105,200).

Published in Dawn, July 26, 2022