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Pakistan: Restive Pakistani city in legal limbo since bombing killed, injured 150 lawyers

1 hour 14 min ago
Source: IRIN Country: Pakistan

Hizbullah Khan

QUETTA, 24 February 2017

Pakistan’s Balochistan Province has long had a reputation for lawlessness, but it’s never been truer on a practical level than it is today. More than half the provincial capital’s lawyers were killed or injured in a bombing last August, and thousands of cases remain in legal limbo.

Read more on IRIN

Pakistan: GIEWS Country Brief: Pakistan 22-February-2017

25 February 2017 - 10:42pm
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Country: Pakistan

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Favourable prospects for 2017 wheat crop production

  • Paddy production in 2016 decreased slightly

  • Rice exports in 2017 forecast to remain close to last year’s level

  • Prices of wheat and wheat flour strengthened in recent months

  • Localized food insecurity persists

Favourable production prospects for 2017 wheat crop

The 2017 mostly irrigated “rabi” (winter) wheat crop, to be harvested from April, is currently in vegetative stage. Adequate irrigation water supplies and overall favourable weather conditions supported a slight expansion in plantings and are benefiting crop development in the main wheat-growing areas of Punjab and Sindh provinces, which together account for over 90 percent of the total wheat output. By contrast, in the minor rainfed-producing areas in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (located in the northwest) and Balochistan (located in the southwest), below-normal rains hindered planting operations and negatively affected growing crops. Overall, however, current official forecasts put the 2017 wheat output at a record level of 26 million tonnes, 2 percent up from the 2016 bumper output. The increase reflects the slight increase in plantings and expectations that good water availability, fertilizers and herbicides will increase average yields in main growing areas.

Paddy production in 2016 decreased slightly

Harvesting of the 2016 summer (monsoon) season maize and rice crops was completed in December 2016. The latest official estimates put the 2016 paddy output at some 10 million tonnes, 3 percent below the 2015 bumper output. This reduction was a result of a contraction in plantings, mainly in response to low domestic prices at sowing time. By contrast, the 2016 maize production increased by 4 percent to 5.2 million tonnes as a result of the slight increase in both area and yields.

Rice exports in 2017 forecast to remain close to last year’s level

FAO forecasts rice exports in calendar year 2017 at 4.2 million tonnes, close to last year’s level. The forecast reflects expectations of adequate exportable availabilities, notwithstanding the 2016 production contraction.

Wheat exports in the 2016/17 marketing year (May/April) are forecast to increase by 13 percent from the previous year’s low level to 850 000 tonnes, in line with the 2016 overall good output and large carryover stocks.

Prices of wheat and wheat flour were stable in recent months

Prices of wheat grain and wheat flour, the country’s main staples, were stable in recent months, reflecting ample supplies from the 2016 bumper harvest and favourable prospects for the 2017 crops. Overall, prices were below their year-earlier levels.

Overall food security conditions stable, but concerns remain in Tharparkar District and northern Pakistan

Overall, food security conditions in the country are stable following two consecutive years of good harvests and large carryover stocks of the main staples. However, food security concerns remain in some southeastern and northern areas of the country. In Tharparkar District and surrounding areas of Sindh Province, a below-average drought-affected cereal production for the third consecutive year, coupled with losses of small animals (in particular sheep and goats), has aggravated food insecurity and caused acute malnutrition. According to OCHA estimates, as of January 2017, about 3.2 million people were in need of humanitarian aid. Furthermore, OCHA data indicates that around 504 000 people (approximately 74 003 families) remain displaced within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, due to recurrent insecurity. These populations rely mainly on humanitarian assistance, including food aid, healthcare and other necessities.

World: Mediterranean Update, Migration Flows Europe: Arrivals and Fatalities: 24 February 2017

25 February 2017 - 2:03am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Afghanistan, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Eritrea, Gambia, Greece, Guinea, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Italy, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

13,924 arrivals by sea in 2017

366 dead/missing

published 09:00 CET 24 February

363,401 arrivals in 2016

Pakistan: Emergency Grant Aid to Afghan refugee and host communities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

24 February 2017 - 11:49am
Source: Government of Japan Country: Afghanistan, Japan, Pakistan
  1. On February 24, the Government of Japan decided to extend Emergency Grant Aid of 7 million US dollars through the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in order to support Afghan refugees and their host communities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan through assistance such as the provision of food and educational and vocational training.

  2. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has hosted an enormous number of Afghan refugees for over thirty years in the past. The number of refugees who return to Afghanistan has been drastically increased since July 2016. After the winter pause of repatriation process, it is expected that very large scale of refugee will start to return again in March this year. The Government of Afghanistan is concerned about the worsening of humanitarian and security situations in the country. Considering this situation, UNHCR has called the international community for immediate support to Afghan refugees and their host communities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

World: WHO’s work in emergencies - 2016: the year in review, December 2016

24 February 2017 - 10:59am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

Overview

76 million
people in need of aid as a result of emergencies – almost 60% of all people-in-need globally

30 million
people displaced (internally and in neighboring countries) as a result of conflict and natural disasters

7 graded emergencies
directly and indirectly affecting a total of 14 countries

Protracted emergencies
in Somalia and Sudan

H5N1, MERS CoV, Polio
health security threats currently in the Region

The Eastern Mediterranean Region experienced continued deterioration of the humanitarian and health situation in 2016. As conflict raged in a number of countries, tens of thousands of men, women and children were killed and injured, hundreds of thousands were besieged and deprived of basic aid, and millions more were forced to flee their homes.

From children injured by explosive weapons, to pregnant women unable to give birth in a safe setting, to cancer patients deprived of essential treatment, more than 66 million people in the Region are affected by some of the world’s most violent and longstanding humanitarian crises.

In countries facing conflict and ongoing violence, the operating environment for humanitarian actors remained volatile, with fragile security, limited access, threats to and attacks on health care workers, and increased social and economic challenges increasing humanitarian needs.

1. Strengthening partnerships to reach all people in need

Limited access as a result of ongoing conflict and insecurity in a number of countries in the Region has resulted in WHO exploring more innovative ways to reach populations in need. This included expanding and strengthening collaboration and coordination with local health partners who have greater access to vulnerable affected populations in areas that international agencies find hard to reach.

The year 2016 marked the first time in several years that WHO was able to reach all 18 besieged areas in Syria. This was made possible only through OCHA-supported inter-agency convoys and WHO’s strong partnerships with more than 140 international partners and local nongovernmental organizations. Through its hubs in Syria (Damascus), Turkey (Gaziantep) and Jordan (Amman) WHO and partners engaged in essential cross-line and cross-border humanitarian responses that covered all parts of the country, taking the most direct route to people in need, regardless of geographical location or political affiliation.

During the military operations in Eastern Aleppo, WHO played a key role in negotiations with all parties to the conflict and developed a comprehensive medical evacuation plan designed to save the lives of hundreds of wounded and critically ill patients trapped inside the city. Finally, after months of negotiations for safe access and several failed cease-fires, on 15 December, the long-awaited evacuations began. As WHO and other UN staff monitored the operation, 811 wounded and critically ill patients were successfully transported to hospitals in Western Aleppo, Idleb and cross-border to Turkey. WHO delivered health supplies to hospitals treating the wounded and deployed ambulances for referrals. WHO-supported mobile clinics located along the evacuation route and in collective shelters for displaced persons provided essential primary health care services, mental health screening, nutrition screening to tens of thousands people.

As military operations intensified in Iraq, partnerships with local heath actors were enhanced. This allowed WHO to reach populations in some inaccessible areas as well as in newly accessible areas in and around Anbar and Mosul. WHO-supported mobile medical clinics and mobile medical teams were sometimes the first to reach newly accessible areas to deliver health care services to thousands of people who had been cut off from aid since June 2014.

Despite several failed cease-fires in Yemen, in early 2016 WHO was able to deliver much-needed medicines and medical supplies to Taiz city, where more than 250,000 people had been living for months in a state of virtual siege. WHO provided trauma kits, interagency emergency health kits, diarrhoeal disease kits, intravenous fluids, as well as oxygen cylinders to five main hospitals that were struggling to function amid dwindling supplies.

Pakistan: Bomb kills at least 10 in shopping district in Pakistan's Lahore

24 February 2017 - 1:09am
Source: Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation Country: Pakistan

by Reuters
Thursday, 23 February 2017 14:36 GMT

Second attack in Lahore in two weeks: a suicide bombing on Feb. 13 killed 13 people and wounded more than 80 at a protest

(Updates death toll, adds government spokesman quotes)

By Mubashir Bukhari

LAHORE, Pakistan, Feb 23 (Reuters) - A bomb blast in an upscale shopping centre in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore killed at least 10 people on Thursday, a provincial government spokesman said, the latest attack in a surge of violence that has shaken the country.

Read more on the Thomson Reuters Foundation

Pakistan: Pakistan: PDMA-KP Special Report: Avalanche/landslide incidents in District Chital (Period Covered: 1100 hours 18th February, 2017- 1630 hours 19th Feb 2017)

24 February 2017 - 12:29am
Source: Government of Pakistan Country: Pakistan

Overview:

A number of separate incidents of Avalanches and landslides were recorded during last 24 hours in different parts of District Chitral. The first incident took place at Rech valley near Booni on the night between 17th and 18th February, 2017. The incident resulted in 01 death and injuries to 03 others. This was followed by another incident of landslide on the North portal of Lawri Tunnel trapping 14 personnel of SAMBU Company’s workshop. District Administration Chitral, Chitral Scouts, Pak Army and SAMBU Company mounted rescue and relief operations, rescuing 7 of the 14 alive while 7 others (3 from Darosh and 4 from Punjab) unfortunately lost their lives. 5 of the injured personnel were shifted to Mastuj Hospital and while the remaining two to Peshawar.

Elsewhere in Tehsil Mulkhuh, roofs of 5 houses caved in due to heavy snowfall, however, fortunately all the houses had been vacated earlier and thus no loss of life was reported.

Following actions have been undertaken so far:

i. Provincial Emergency Operation Center (PEOC) has been activated.

ii. PDMA coordinated with Local Administration and PAK Army for the planed rescue and relief operation in the area.

iii. All stakeholders are being regularly updated about progress of operation iv. PDMA is continuously monitoring the situation.

2. Preliminarily losses/damages reported:

Human losses:

  • Dead: 8

  • Injured: 10

  • House Damages: 5

Pakistan: Pakistan: Wave of violence shows a horrific disregard for human life

23 February 2017 - 12:25pm
Source: Amnesty International Country: Pakistan

A bomb attack in Lahore that killed eight people is the latest in a wave of violence that shows a horrific disregard for human life, Amnesty International said today.

Over the past fortnight, a series of bomb attacks claimed by a slew of armed groups has claimed the lives of more than 120 people and injured several more, raising concerns about the protection of human life.

“All those suspected of responsibility for this horrific wave of violence must be brought to justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts and without recourse to death penalty,” said Nadia Rahman, Amnesty International’s Pakistan campaigner.

“Pakistan’s authorities have a responsibility to protect the lives of everyone in the country, and they must do so while upholding international law and standards. Resorting to cruel and inhumane methods will not address the root causes of the problem and risks perpetuating a cycle of violence.”

The bomb attack in Lahore comes a week after more than 80 people were slain at the famed shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Sindh. Cities attacked earlier include Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, and Dera Ismail Khan.

After the Sehwan attack, the Pakistan authorities claimed to have killed 100 “terrorists”. No details have been disclosed about any criminal investigation, who was targeted, what their involvement was in the attacks, and why they were not brought to justice in fair trials.

“The victims of these attacks deserve true justice, not a campaign of violent revenge in their name,” said Nadia Rahman.

The Lahore bombing comes as Pakistan’s military announced a fresh offensive, “Operation Radd ul-Fasaad”, and the paramilitary Rangers force was given special powers to operate in Lahore and other parts of Punjab.

Amnesty International calls on the authorities to ensure that any security operations adhere to Pakistan’s obligations under international law.

The organization has documented crimes under international law and human rights violations under paramilitary troops in Karachi, including where people were subject to arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, denied access to lawyers, medical support, and guarantees of a fair trial.

“The injustices we saw in Karachi must not be revisited on people in Lahore or other parts of the country,” said Nadia Rahman.

Pakistan’s parliament is currently debating proposals to revive the mandate of military courts to try civilians, after a two year mandate lapsed on January 7.

Amnesty International considers that the criminal jurisdiction of military courts, in Pakistan and in any other country, should be limited to trials of members of the military for breaches of military discipline; it should not extend to crimes under international law or human rights violations.

In accordance with international law, Amnesty International opposes the use of military courts to try civilians and, along with other organizations, has documented a catalogue of human rights violations flowing from them, including coerced confessions, opaque processes, executions, and unfair trials.

“Every government has a responsibility to protect people’s lives and take necessary measures to provide for their security, but military courts are not the solution,” said Nadia Rahman.

“The only way to tackle with attacks on human rights is with justice, truth and reparation, not further human rights violations.”

Pakistan: Pre-Crisis Market Analysis: Goat Market System in Jamshoro, Umerkot, and Tharparkar Districts of Sindh Province, Pakistan

23 February 2017 - 5:39am
Source: Government of Pakistan, European Commission, Food Security Cluster Country: Pakistan

Executive Summary and Key Recommendations

The Pre-Crisis Market Analysis (PCMA) was conducted in the Jamshoro, Umerkot, and Tharparkar districts of Sindh, Pakistan from November 30th to December 11, 2016. The PCMA was premised on a drought emergency scenario for Umerkot and Tharparkar districts and both flood and drought for Jamshoro district. The PCMA looked at market functionality in ‘normal’ and ‘emergency’ times, how the market has responded to past emergencies, and how it might respond to future emergencies. The timing of the ‘normal’ and emergency scenarios is presented in the following sections.

The PCMA compliments the HEA (Household Economy Analysis) conducted in 2015, which looks at resilience and needs at the household level, and the SDNA (Sindh Drought Needs Assessment), which examines the impact of drought on agriculture, livelihoods, food security, nutrition, and water and sanitation. Together, the HEA, SDNA, and PCMA form the basis for the Situation and Response Analysis Framework (SRAF), which the Pakistan Food Security Working Group plans to undertake in the first quarter of 2017.

The PCMA in Sindh was led by one international expert, co-facilitated by a local leader and conducted by 23 Pakistani professionals representing the Government of Sindh (Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA-Sindh) and Bureau of Statistics Sindh (BoS Sindh), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Secours Islamique France (SIF), Action Contre la Faime (ACF), Plan International, BEST, and the Gorakh Foundation.

The overall PCMA effort was focused on two critical markets: wheat flour and goats. A separate report is prepared for each of the critical markets. Livestock in general and goats in particular are significant in Sindh and for Pakistan – as of 2006, Sindh contained 23% of the nation’s nearly 60 million goats.

The target population around which key research questions and the PCMA gap analysis are built is poor and very poor households in the three districts; for those households goats are their single major asset from which they derive nutrition and income. The three districts studied contain different livelihoods zones and bear different levels of risk for chronic drought and sudden-onset emergency, affecting the markets for goats, fodder, and water. When possible, the PCMA illustrates what is broadly applicable to the goat market system across the three districts. When necessary, discussion of the findings disaggregates and picks out points salient particularities. To briefly summarize findings and recommendations:

  • The functionality of the goat market is strong in normal times, but times are not normal: goats are the most widely kept animals across all wealth groups, and are especially favoured by poor and very poor households. Fodder in different forms and goats can be readily purchased from a variety of market actors across the districts, and regional and urban markets maintain a steady turnover. However, ‘normal’ times have proved elusive over the years; after a major drought in 2013-2015, all of Tharparker and much of Umerkot are again facing drought conditions. For a herd of goats to be financially viable, households must have access to foraged fodder for much of the year, reducing the need to rely on the market. Drought conditions decrease the volume and quality of natural fodder available, weakening goat health and raising disease susceptibility. Outbreak of disease is widespread, thinning herds and compelling pastoralists that can’t access veterinary medicines to make distressed sales of their livestock assets, which increases supply in the market exerts downward pressure on market prices.
  • Technically discrete, longer-term programming is required to increase resilience. The most effective, sustainable, and long-term manner of reducing the impact of chronic and sudden onset natural disasters in Sindh is an arc of programming that spans years, rather than manifesting in fits and spurts in emergency response. Ultimately, land reform and agricultural policy reform are required, accompanied by investment in water infrastructure, improved animal husbandry practices, and training, education and alternative livelihoods programming to reduce climate change risk. Absent the will to address such complex, deeply rooted issues, technical assistance can make great gains in food security and livelihoods for vulnerable agro-pastoralists and pastoralists in Sindh, through programs such as those in this short, illustrative list: stocking and de-stocking programs, mass animal vaccination, improved breeding and selection techniques, chilling stations for milk, improved cold storage and animal processing improved expansion and improvement of irrigation and water management infrastructure designed for pastoralism, debt relief and affordable microfinance for agro-pastoralists, expanded rural mobile networks, and market information dissemination mechanisms. Such programming is within the mandate and technical capability of many of the PCMA stakeholders. Specifically for the Food Security working group: for the anticipated SRAF and for programming undertaken in 2017 and beyond, this report recommends striking a balance between meeting basic needs in emergency response, and mitigation and longer-term development and resilience efforts. A variety of programming options are described in this section, and in the Response Recommendations section, below.

In the event of flooding, physical access to markets is partially or completely disrupted for a short period of time. Depending on the location, direct assistance is needed by agro-pastoral households for 1-5 months while floodwaters recede and households strive to recover. Recovery in the period immediately after flooding requires direct and in-kind intervention. A range of market-sensitive programming options is appropriate after flood waters recede:

Cash and vouchers are appropriate for resilience, mitigation and emergency response. Even when not actively affected by emergency conditions, poor and very poor households are living far below the World Bank’s 2015 international poverty line of $1.90 per person per day: for example, in the irrigated wheat livelihood zone of Jamshoro and Umerkot, the average income per person per day in poor households is $0.70.3 As such, households are facing chronic poverty every day; chronic or sudden onset natural disasters increase the severity of their financial and nutritional challenges, and diminish resilience. As wheat flour, fodder, goats, and other markets for key goods and services are strong, and households have a market orientation for their income and food security, a variety of market-based and market-sensitive options are viable for helping actors in Jamshoro, Umerkot, and Tharparkar. The Food Security working group, with support of ECHO, has been investing in raising the technical capacity of helping actors in Sindh to implement cash-based interventions, for example through two 2-day workshops held in June, 2014. However, the appropriateness of cash and vouchers in any area of Sindh is directly dependent on market functionality: taking the 2010 floods as a worst case scenario, “markets took a few more months to recover due to the degree of damage and duration of persistent floods.”

In the event of a chronic drought emergency, market-sensitive programming can be used to halt and reverse negative coping mechanisms, restore animal health through access to nutrition and medicines, and allow restocking through reproduction.

To reduce the human impacts of possible impact of future floods, this report makes the following recommendations:

  • Conduct targeting and sensitization. By design, neither the HEA nor the PCMA have sought or presented all of the information necessary for targeting of specific market actors or households. Pakistan is highly exposed to climate change, meeting several of the risk thresholds described in a 2011 report produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change.6 Given current scientific data and the lived experience of weather and climate-related events in Sindh over the last 10 years, it is highly likely that drought and/or flooding will be affecting vulnerable persons; undertaking targeting exercises as a precursor to resilience building programming or as preparation for more rapid, effective emergency response is strongly recommended. At the household level, humanitarian actors should seek to understand how households would utilize cash received in a distribution, and if that is in keeping with the design of the size and frequency of the cash distributions, and any complementary programming. An ACF meta evaluation of cash transfers after the 2010 flooding in Sindh concluded that households spent 50% of the cash received on food, and 40% on health, as disease incidence spiked to high levels after the floods, while a WFP end line report on the impact of cash programming in Tharparkar, Umerkot, and Sanghar districts showed that households spent two thirds of the cash received on food. Targeting and sensitization should also yield actionable information about the appropriate delivery methods for cash, given limited mobile networks in rural areas, widespread illiteracy and inexperience with cash cards and ATMs.9 Examples for technical design and implementation may be gleaned from the government of Pakistan’s Citizen’s Damage Compensation Programme (CDCP), which used a card platform to distribute nearly $500 million USD to 1.6 million flood affected households in Pakistan between 2010 and 2013.

  • Pursue achievable, low-tech solutions to strengthening pastoralist resilience: most of the tools required to make pastoralists and their goats more resilient are already present and being used to a certain extent by the government of Pakistan and helping actors. Large-scale vaccinations, improved breeding selection, de-stocking/re-stocking programs, goat food supplement and fattening programs, low-tech rainwater harvesting and water storage techniques can be undertaken as disaster risk reduction and/or emergency response programming. While the government of Pakistan is correctly pursuing higher profile, complex programs with its international partners, local NGOs and their international partners, in collaboration with relevant government actors can expand agricultural extension programming to improve practices and outcomes at the ground level.

Afghanistan: Central and South West Asia Monthly Summaries

23 February 2017 - 5:10am
Source: Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat Country: Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Pakistan, World

The Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi) in Central Asia and South West Asia (CASWA) region aims at gathering data on displaced Afghans on the move. 4Mi intends to facilitate improved protection monitoring of those in mixed migration flows where increasing levels of abuse, neglect, hardship and death face men, women and children. In addition 4Mi aims to support a range of agencies, donors, governments, departments and academic institutions by providing concrete insights on mixed migration trends and changes in flows.

Afghanistan: Monthly Migration Movements - Afghan Displacement Summary - January 2017

23 February 2017 - 5:06am
Source: Danish Refugee Council, Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat Country: Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Pakistan, World

Introduction

The Mixed Migration Monitoring Initiative (4Mi)1 in Central Asia and South West Asia (CASWA) region aims at gathering data on displaced Afghans on the move.
This paper is the second in a monthly series of trend analyses. This month, the paper analyses both internal movement within Afghanistan and migration towards India and Indonesia. It is based on interviews with 310 people in Afghanistan, 61 in India, and 66 in Indonesia conducted in December 2016. Future papers will analyse 4Mi data collected on Afghans migrating toward the East and the West; data collection is being set up in Germany, Sweden and Denmark. 4Mi data collection and analysis is being conducted with the purpose to increase knowledge about drivers of movement and protection risks faced by Afghans.
4Mi field monitors conducted the data and the sample size only represents a small section of those on the move in Afghanistan. Any generalizations about the total population of Afghan migrants on the move must be made with an understanding of the sampling methodology of 4Mi. For more information about the 4Mi methodology please visit: http://4mi.regionalmms.org/4mi.html.

Afghanistan
General security situation: The general security situation in Afghanistan did not change drastically between November and December. In northeast, the incidents initiated by AOG, ANSF and ACG increased compare to November 2016 in Kunduz. In south, there were searching operations especially in Helmand and Kandahar, which led to dozens of Taliban insurgents being killed. Central, western, and eastern areas seemed calm, however the presence of opposition groups in Nangarhar and Laghman provinces increased. Criminal activities also increased in Jalalabad2. As this is the winter season, the opposition groups’ activities are decreasing, but they are also reinforcing and preparing their activities for spring.

Return from Pakistan and Iran: According to IOM’s weekly reports3, 8,630 undocumented Afghans returned or were deported from Pakistan between the 4th and 31st of December, which is a considerably low number compared to 30,745 returning between the 29th of October and 3rd of December. 39,054 returned from Iran between the 29th of October to 3rd of December and 33,054 between 4th of December and 31st of December. The total number of undocumented Afghans returnees from Pakistan and Iran reached, respectively, 248,189 and 443,968 in 2016.

Movement from Afghanistan: According to December 4Mi data, as well as discussions with the monitors, the majority of those migrating from Afghanistan towards Iran and Pakistan are Hazara and Pashtun adult men between 19 and 50 years old who leave the country with the hope to find seasonal work. Approximately 50% are migrating from urban areas and almost 2/3 of those migrating interrupted secondary or high school. Nearly 30% of migrants en route were jobless before departure, which correspond well to the findings in Survey of Afghan People where unemployment is cited by just over half (51.5%) of Afghans as a reason they would leave the country.

Push factors: As the graph below indicates, around 31% of interviewees reported economic reasons as the main reason to migrate from Afghanistan (which is around a 10% increase compared to the November data). As the winter arrives, job opportunities in the Afghan labor market decrease and many Afghans migrate to Iran and Pakistan seeking temporary or longer term employment; more than 45% of the interviewees mentioned Iran as their destination. Data indicates that sending one or more family members to neighboring countries for remittances is a livelihood strategy for Afghan families as more than 25% of those who migrate for economic reasons, are sent by their families. Apart from economic reasons, other contributing factors are personal, family or community circumstances, including insecurity and crime, and political reasons. Fewer people reported environmental reasons, positive feelings about migration and infrastructural reasons.

Risks on route: 4Mi data indicates that migrants face greatest risks in Nimruz province, a border province in southwestern Afghanistan, which is often the starting point for irregular migration routes towards Iran and Pakistan.
Physical protection risks continued to be high in December; this is consistent with November data. There are 205 cases of deaths reported by interviewees, out of which 74 cases are witnessed in Nimruz province. According to monitors, the concentration of deaths takes place in Zaranj, which is one of the main hubs for irregular migration, due partially to road accidents. It is also via this border point that bodies of those irregular Afghan migrants who die on Iranian territory are delivered to Afghan authorities. Other provinces where high rates of death are reported are Zabul (20), Nangarhar (19), Helmand (17), and Herat (13). The victims are mostly adult or youth male. The main causes of death are violence (gunshots or knife wounds), vehicle accidents and sickness/lack of access to medicines.

Other incidents reported are sexual assault or harassment (35); of these, 23 related to indecent assault or touching, 8 to rape and 4 to other sexual abuses. Most of these incidents happened in Nimruz. The data shows that perpetrators are mostly single unknown individuals (14), the host community (7) or the police (5). The number of cases of physical assault is also high with 120 cases, mainly in Zaranj, Kabul and Herat. Most of cases of assaults take the form of physical abuse like beating and slapping.

As indicated below in figure 2, other incidents include ransom (28 cases), detention (47 cases) as well as robbery (113 cases). According to our monitors, bribes are mostly paid in cash and to authorities and brokers in different organizations; from the Directorate of Passport to police stations in border points. Detention by police, security forces, militia, and host community or immigration officials was also reported and the main reason to be detained was entering or exiting the country illegally (87%). Mean days of detention were 4 days and the detainees were mostly kept inside in a room where they could lie down, unrestrained/not handcuffed. In more than 75% of the cases, the incidents were not reported to the police as interviewees expressed that they found it useless or were unable to do so.

Within the context of 4Mi data collection, it was challenging to gain more context on these issues, but DRC will most likely conduct more in depth analysis on the issues in 2017.

Movement towards India

Currently, according to UNHCR, there are approximately 10,000 Afghan refugees in India and 1,300 Afghan asylum seekers. Refugees are to a large extent concentrated in and around Delhi. The asylum seekers are waiting for their status to be determined by UNHCR. There is no reliable data on the number and situation of undocumented Afghan migrants in India.
According to the 4Mi data, most Afghans came to India by air transport directly from Afghanistan. Surprisingly, none of the interviewees report that they migrated to India due to economic reasons. Instead, data indicates that push factors are largely related to personal, family or community circumstances and political reasons. This suggests that India is a destination country for those who flee from insecurity & peer pressures; not those Afghans who migrate in the hope to find better job opportunities. DRC recognizes the need to study these findings in greater detail as the data may be biased by the fact that interviewees are waiting for their status to be determined by UNHCR.

Many of the interviewees didn’t have an intended destination country in mind prior to departure from Afghanistan whereas others indicated a plan to travel onwards to Indonesia (18%) and had prior hopes to reach Australia (nearly 25%) and Canada (nearly 15%). Approximately 50% voiced that the main reason for choosing these destinations are linked to greater general security.

Risks on route: In contrast to the data collected in Afghanistan, reports from India shows very few incidents on route from Afghanistan to India. No ransom, robbery, or detentions were reported. However, 1 case of sexual assault, 2 cases of bribery and 12 cases of death were reported by interviewees in India. 5 cases of death were witnessed during movement in Afghanistan to other migrants on route, the other 7 were in Heydarabad (the capital of the southern Indian state of Telangana).

Movement towards Indonesia

As stated in the last report, Indonesia has largely functioned as a transit migration country for Afghans to reach Australia by boat. Today, due to Australia’s restrictive refugee and asylum policies, resettlement to USA and Canada rather seems to be the possible option although the 4Mi data indicates that some still hope to reach Australia. Currently, there are 7,063 Afghans registered with UNHCR as of September 2016.

According to the 4Mi data collected in December, most of the interviewees came to Indonesia by air transportation via India, as figure 3 illustrates. Some however reached the country by boat. In few cases, migrants first arrived in Pakistan and then moved onwards to India and Indonesia. Some Afghans flew from UAE or Qatar directly to Indonesia; others had a stop in Thailand. According to the interviewees, the main reason for their choice of route were related to what a broker/smuggler could offer.
Surprisingly, the most prominent reason for moving to Indonesia is related to personal, family or community circumstances and secondly political reasons such as war and insecurity. No one reported that they moved to Indonesia due to economic reasons although, similar to India, there is a possibility that this data may be biased.

Almost half of the interviewees mentioned that they had no destination country in mind prior to departure from Afghanistan and similar to India, a large group had the hope to move onwards to Australia due to greater general security.

Risks on route: According to the 4Mi data from Indonesia, incidents faced by Afghan migrants on the route to Indonesia are robberies (12 cases) and bribe (10 cases) and almost all of the cases were reported to have happened in Bogor. The interviewees reported 1 case of death, 2 cases of ransom and 1 case of detention.

Migration towards Europe
In 2016, the number of sea arrivals to Europe was 351,619 of which 12% were Afghans (42,025) thus being the second largest group. Most Afghans arrived from Turkey to Greece (41,655) however, there were a few who reached through Italy (370). In December 2016 170 Afghans arrived to Greece compared to 254 in November6. In comparison to 2015, Afghan arrivals to Greece decreased by 77% from January to November 2016.7 The decrease may partially be influenced by the onset of the harsh winter across Europe. At least four death incidents are reported in Greece due to the cold conditions out of which one of them were Afghans.
There is not yet 4Mi data from Europe.

Networks and source of information
The 4Mi data collected in December on networks and source of information prior to and on journey was rather similar for all three countries (Afghanistan, India & Indonesia). According to the data, irregular migration is facilitated either by smugglers/brokers or friends or family members.
The majority of smugglers are perceived as professional, that is, a part of an organized network (69%). Nearly 40% smugglers/brokers and 23% used their ethnic/cultural networks. The main value added by smugglers is that they ‘guarantee’ safe transit across a border (32%). Accommodation (15%) and provision of documents (11%) are other major services provided by smugglers. The main method used by smugglers to guaranty the payment is unofficial intermediary releasing the money after safe arrival (hawaladar) (42%).

Sources of Information: According to the data, the main source of information prior to departure is friends and family in country of destination, but during the journey, the dependence on information from smugglers increases. In addition, social media (such as Facebook, Viber and Whatsapp) have a considerable proportion among the sources of information. Based on our monitors, most information provided by these sources are about the situation and wellbeing of individual on the route as well as information about costs.

Pakistan: UNHCR plans skills training for refugees

23 February 2017 - 12:29am
Source: DAWN Group of Newspapers Country: Pakistan

Muhammad Akbar Notezai

QUETTA: The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR’s Country Representative Indrika Ratwatte and Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch inaugurated a skill development programme on Wednesday.

Under the programme, over 200 Afghan and Pakistani youths will be trained during the next three months in Quetta, Pishin, Killa Abdullah, Loralai and Killa Saifullah. Vocational training will be offered to young women and men as tailors, beauticians, plumbers, electricians, masons and fridge, mobile phone and solar panel repair technicians.

The programme is part of the UNHCR’s Refugee Affected and Hosting Area initiative. The project worth Rs30 million would impart training to over 700 people up to 25 years old in all the provinces.

Praising UNHCR’s efforts for empowering Afghan and Pakistani youths, Mr Baloch called upon the international community to extend more support to Pakistan for hosting the world’s largest protracted refugee population and to enable sustainable voluntary return of refugees to Afghanistan.

“The world cannot afford to fail the new generation of refugee youths who have great potential to become successful individuals and play a constructive role for building peace in the world,” he said.

The UNHCR official plans to hand over on Friday to acting provincial Education Secretary Shanul Haq, classroom and laboratory furniture for 45 primary and secondary schools in Quetta.

The delegation will also visit the Proof of Registration Card Modifi­cation Centre and meet Afghan refugee elders.

World: Mediterranean Update, Migration Flows Europe: Arrivals and Fatalities: 21 February 2017

22 February 2017 - 12:05am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Afghanistan, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Eritrea, Gambia, Greece, Guinea, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Italy, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

13,170 arrivals by sea in 2017

272 dead/missing

published 09:00 CET 19 February

363,401 arrivals in 2016

Serbia: UNHCR Serbia Update, 16-19 Feb 2017

21 February 2017 - 10:09pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Iraq, Pakistan, Serbia, Syrian Arab Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, World

HIGHLIGHTS AND STATISTICS

  • The overall number of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants counted in Serbia stood close to 7,700. Over 6,599 (86%) of them were sheltered in 17 heated government facilities (below chart refers). The rest were staying rough in Belgrade city centre or the North.

  • On 15 February, UNHCR and partners surveyed refugee and migrant men squatting in all known locations in Belgrade city centre, and counted a total of 841, all males. With successful transfers to Obrenovac and other governmental shelters, the number of unaccompanied and separated boys amongst them had dropped to 41 (or 12%). Of the total, 40% who were willing to be surveyed, 87% claimed to be from Afghanistan and 13% from Pakistan. Among them, 12% indicated they were willing to transfer into any government shelter immediately and 17% perhaps, depending on the shelter, while 49% stated they did not want to move to any governmental shelter but prefer to stay in the city centre instead.

  • Hungarian authorities admitted 19 asylum seekers into procedures at the Hungarian “transit zones” near Kelebija and Horgos border crossings. During the same period, over 110 asylum-seekers informed UNHCR and partners to have been denied access to asylum procedures in Hungary but instead been collectively expelled back into Serbia, with some alleging maltreatment by Hungarian police.

  • Between 01 and 19 February, 324 intentions to seek asylum in Serbia were registered.

Pakistan: NGOs: Pakistan Government Restrictions Hamper Campaigns to Curb Militancy

21 February 2017 - 2:06pm
Source: Voice of America Country: Pakistan

Madeeha Anwar

Aid agencies in Pakistan’s restive northwestern region are struggling to provide services to help curb militancy and deliver aid because they lack government permission to operate, according to humanitarian organizations.

The aid groups say the government is creating obstacles for them to obtain a "No Objection Certificate" (NOC) in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which has been hard-hit by militancy and terrorism. The certificate is a requirement for an organization to work in the area.

“Getting an NOC is almost impossible in the areas where military operations are currently ongoing,” Tahira Abdullah, a human rights activist in Pakistan, told VOA.

Humanitarian and aid organizations are required to have the document, which is a form of approval from the provincial government prior to starting projects in the region.

Foreign-funded local organizations in northwestern Pakistan provide humanitarian and emergency assistance, including health, education, and food distribution, to more than two million people who have been displaced by ongoing Pakistani military operations against militant groups.

Some of the local organizations help teach programs on empowering women and young people that are designed to help curb a spreading extremist ideology among Pakistani youth.

For the past few years, obtaining NOCs has increasingly become harder for aid agencies in Pakhtunkhwa, according to the NGOs. They say the restrictions have adversely affected aid effectiveness in the militancy-torn region.

“There are more than 15 aid agencies waiting for issuance of ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the Pakhtunkhwa government for over seven months now,” Sher Zaman, provincial program manager for the South Asia Partnership Pakistan organization, told VOA. The process should not take more than two to three months according to government regulations, Zaman said.

Officials ‘looking into the matter’

Mushtaq Ghani, a spokesperson for the provincial government, told VOA, that authorities are aware of the delays.

“I’ve heard complaints from different aid agencies,” Ghani said. “I’m looking into the matter along with Home Department.”

Ghani said the certificate regulations were introduced to “verify the aid agencies” as some militant organizations use aid groups as a cloak for terrorist activities.

“We’ve got to be careful before we allow any aid agency receiving foreign aid to start operation in the region,” Ghani said.

But the prolonged delays are leaving a void in education and employment as aid groups are not able to hire or educate children.

Aid groups say the restrictions have alienated young people who are a target for militants recruiters. According to aid groups, more than 6,500 people in the tribal region have lost their jobs during the past few months due to restrictions on aid agencies.

Civil society activists say the government often does not provide a reason for delaying issuing a certificate.

“We’ve tried to talk to different departments of the government on the matter. But they just wouldn’t give you a reason or an answer,” Sher Khan, vice chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in Pakhtunkhwa told VOA.

Unwelcome scrutiny

Some activists say the restrictions on aid groups are an attempt by the government to avoid outside scrutiny.

Pakistan’s military has been accused by activists of human rights violations in the tribal region. Thousands of people have been rounded up in what the government calls terrorism-related probes and are classified as missing, the groups said.

Human rights experts say that civil and military governments in Pakistan through the years have shunned progressive, liberal and rights-based aid agencies.

“These organizations also monitor government performance and write alternate/shadow reports to rebut the distorted, untruthful government reports to U.N. bodies on United Nation Conventions that Pakistan has ratified,” said one activist named Abdullah.

Advocates say humanitarian organizations are needed in the restive area to educate people on their rights.

“We really need initiatives from aid agencies through which we can make people aware of their rights and to make them demand their basic needs from the government,” said Shabaan Ali, who runs a non-governmental organization to help empower his tribesmen.

Greece: Situation Update: Unaccompanied Children (UAC) in Greece (as of 15 February 2017) [EN/EL]

21 February 2017 - 5:56am
Source: Government of Greece, UN Children's Fund Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Greece, Iraq, Pakistan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

Greece: Situation Update: Unaccompanied Children (UAC) in Greece (as of 15 February 2017) [EN/GR]

21 February 2017 - 5:56am
Source: Government of Greece, UN Children's Fund Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Greece, Iraq, Pakistan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

Pakistan: Crisis Response Bulletin, February 20, 2017 - Volume: 3, Issue: 08

21 February 2017 - 4:14am
Source: Alhasan Systems Country: Afghanistan, Pakistan

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Avalanche kills seven near Lowari Tunnel

  • NDMA prepares framework for vulnerable, low-income communities

  • Wind, rain, heat: Health risks grow with extreme weather

  • Babies starving as food runs low in Pakistan's drought-hit Tharparkar district

  • CM approves shifting of eight ATCs from Clifton to Central jail

  • Sindh govt fails to provide adequate security in Sehwan, says MQM, PMLF

  • Punjab sends summary to federal government for Rangers’ deployment

  • 650 suspected terrorists arrested in countrywide crackdown

  • Efforts for military courts’ revival gather steam

  • Census to be held as per schedule: PBS

  • DRAP CEO to file cases against pharmaceutical companies

  • Govt asked to collect data of five major diseases in census

Pakistan: Vegetation Analysis Map of Pakistan (20 February 2017)

21 February 2017 - 4:03am
Source: Alhasan Systems Country: Pakistan

Pakistan: Polio Cases in Pakistan 2017

21 February 2017 - 4:01am
Source: Alhasan Systems Country: Pakistan