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World: Mediterranean Update, Migration Flows Europe: Arrivals and Fatalities: 17 January 2017

17 January 2017 - 11:59pm
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

2,876 arrivals by sea in 2017

219 dead/missing

published 09:00 CET 17 January

387,487 arrivals in 2016

Afghanistan: Afghanistan: 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (January - December 2017)

17 January 2017 - 3:58pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Afghanistan, Pakistan

OVERVIEW

THE CRISIS

The continued deepening and geographic spread of the conflict has prompted a 13% increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2017, now 9.3 million. Unrelenting displacement and exposure to repetitive shocks continues to intensify humanitarian needs.

Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous, and most violent, crisis ridden countries in the world. Households in Afghanistan face constant danger of conflict and natural disasters, often compelling them to flee their homes at a moment’s notice. In 2016, all regions of the country have been touched by the conflict. Violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights Law (HRL) occur regularly - including targeted killings, forced recruitment and attacks on health and education facilities.
The 8,397 civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2016 is the highest recorded since 2009, and included a 15% increase in child casualties compared to 2015. In 2016 increasingly frequent ground engagements continued to be the main cause of civilian casualties, while also limiting freedom of movement for civilians and contaminating areas with explosive remnants of war (ERW) which disproportionally affect children. Health partners reported 57,346 weapon wounded cases between January and September alone, compared to 19,749 in 2011, representing almost a three-fold increase.

The country is facing increasing numbers of people on the move. In 2016 the conflict has led to unprecedented levels of displacement, reaching half a million in November - the highest number recorded to date. On average, every day sees another 1,500 people forced to leave their homes, escaping violence. Over half a million displaced families are scattered across 34 different provinces – with approximately 20% extremely hard to reach in gradually expanding areas of nongovernment controlled territory. 56% of the displaced are children and face particular risk of abuse, and exploitation, as well as interrupted school attendance and harmful child labour. Multiple forms of gender based violence (GBV), particularly early and forced marriage, domestic, psychological, and sexual abuse are reported, affecting individuals in hosting and displaced communities alike.

Magnifying this crisis of forced displacement, 2016 saw the unprecedented return of some 600,000 registered refugees and undocumented Afghans from Pakistan. For the majority, return is reluctant, and the experience often abrupt and distressing. Once here, they add to the ranks of internally displaced, as conflict and lost community networks prevent them returning to any ostensive place of origin. With no obvious prospects for an improved state of affairs, 2017 is likely to see at least 450,000 new IDPs and potentially as many as a million more Afghan returns from Pakistan and Iran.

Active conflict continues to threaten the physical safety and health of Afghans, disproportionately so for women and children. Attacks against health facilities, patients, medical staff and vehicles, continue to disrupt and deprive people of life-saving treatment. Four and a half million people live in conflict affected districts with extremely constrained access to health services. Maternal and child health remains dangerously overlooked. Rates of infant and maternal mortality remain among the highest in the world and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) has breached emergency thresholds in 20 of 34 provinces. Some 1.8 million people require treatment for acute malnutrition.

Concurrent exposure to violence as well as high economic vulnerability means most households experience multiple and repetitive shocks within a year resulting in food insufficiency and adoption of negative, often harmful coping strategies which plunge families deeper into crisis.

Afghanistan: “Afghan Displaced Youth” - A Regional NGO Meeting on Afghan Refugees, Returnees and Durable Solutions

17 January 2017 - 10:23am
Source: Government of Norway, Norwegian Refugee Council, European Union, Samuel Hall Country: Afghanistan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Pakistan

Rationale

1. Why a regional workshop on Afghan refugees?

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan gathered in November 2015 in Tehran for a regional meeting on Afghan refugee issues with a thematic focus on Afghan displaced youth. At a time when displacement in and out of Afghanistan continues to rise, when the number of Afghan asylum seekers grows steadily in Europe and debates on durable solutions for Afghan refugees remain, it is all the more necessary to take stock of the profiles of the millions of Afghan youth outside of their homeland, and those who made, with their families, the decision to return.

2. What is at stake and who is responsible?

The outcome of this workshop is concrete and operational: a set of possible key objectives and indicators that can help guide NGOs in their work with Afghan refugee youth, as well as facilitate improved donor and host government understanding of key issues. The centrality of better data was voiced by all NGOs present, a priority need in Iran and Pakistan, as well as upon return to Afghanistan, to enable tailored programming that support youth’s potential and are aligned with their aspirations.

“There is need for regional information collection and sharing to be supported by donors with a widely disseminated platform for this information to be housed. Donors need to think of the road to sustainability pragmatically – the funding coming to displaced Afghans is reducing but there is no exit strategy planned to cope with this. Supporting refugees arriving in Europe should not detract from support to countries of origin – their problems need to be addressed at this root level.” (Mercy Corps)

This is the first of three thematic workshops. This workshop is intended to create space for programme information exchange between NGOs, UN agencies, national and regional governments responsible for their protection. The workshop closed on key action points and responsibilities to be shared.

3. Meeting Theme: Displaced Afghan Youth

  • At an international level, the UN calls for the development of youth policies, which address the needs of groups of young people who are particularly vulnerable as a result of their current circumstances, political conditions, or long histories of social exclusion or discrimination.

  • At a regional level, children below the age of 14 account for half of the 2.45 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran, while youth make up a significant proportion of the population.

  • At a national level, 1 in 6 youth in Kabul was born outside of Afghanistan. They have experienced forced and voluntary migration, half had refugee status, the other half have migrated irregularly.

  • At the time of this workshop, young Afghans are leaving increasingly westwards, joining irregular migration flows to Europe.

Afghan refugees remain one of the largest and longest displaced populations in the world. Three decades of recurrent conflict have led to the education of successive generations of Afghan children being disrupted or discontinued. Today an estimated 2.6 million Afghans remain in exile – generously hosted by the Islamic Republics of Pakistan and Iran. Equivalent numbers of unregistered Afghans are considered to reside in both countries. The Afghan refugee population in both Pakistan and Iran is young, with second and third generations of children having being born into displacement. Children below the age of 14 account for half of the 2.45 million Afghan refugees in both countries, with youth (15-24) also comprise a significant proportion of the population. In Afghanistan, a sizable refugee returnee caseload has placed large pressures on an already strained education system and has adverse implications on the ability of Afghan youth to sustainably reintegrate and limiting national progress in education and development.

FOCUS ON EDUCATION AND LIVELIHOODS

While Pakistan and Iran both allow enrolment of Afghan children in schools, educating more than a million school age refugees is not without its challenges. Enrolment of Afghan children in schools still remains relatively low in some areas and literacy rates extremely poor although in Iran the government has, in 2015, decided to extend access to primary and secondary education to all Afghan refugees, registered and unregistered, which, considering the high number of unregistered refugees in Iran is a noteworthy decision. Because of the protracted nature of the Afghan displacement, second and third generation refugees have become trapped in a cycle of low educational attainment owing to various factors linked to their displacement environment, such as poverty, socio-cultural traditions and institutional reasons. Linked to this challenging education context, where Afghan youth often struggle to access primary and secondary education and quality training, there is a skills deficit that limits the ability of refugee youth to gain vocational opportunities and livelihoods as young adults. Expanding efforts to provide quality education and training options for Afghan youth is also recognised as a proven guarantee of increasing the prospect of a sustainable return should Afghan refugees choose to return to Afghanistan.

The NGO Thematic Regional Meeting explores learning on key protection and programmatic response needs of protracted Afghan refugee populations in Iran and Pakistan, and returnees in Afghanistan with a particular focus on displaced Afghan youth populations. In his introduction, NRC Iran Country Director Olivier Vandecasteele focused on youth as a demographic group that can bring together NGOs to work more effectively. “Joint assessments are necessary because we have different strengths to highlight in our work as none of us can claim to solve all the issues at hand.”

Serbia: UNHCR Serbia Update, 12-15 Jan 2017

17 January 2017 - 7:34am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Afghanistan, Hungary, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Pakistan, Serbia, Syrian Arab Republic, World

HIGHLIGHTS AND STATISTICS

  • Around 7,300 refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants seeking were counted in Serbia, of which 5,942 (i.e. 82%) were accommodated in 16 government shelters, many exceeding capacities (see below chart). Some 49% are from Afghanistan, 19% from Iraq, 10% each from Syria and Pakistan, 5% from Iran and 7% from other countries. 46% are children, 39% adult men and 15% adult women.

  • In Belgrade, UNHCR and partners continued to advise and transport asylum-seekers to designated governmental centres. UNHCR alone moved another 53 newly registered asylum seekers from Belgrade to designated camps. At the same time, UNHCR and civil society, in close coordination with authorities, continued to provide life-saving aid to those refugees/migrants not yet able or willing to move to government shelters despite the harsh weather. On 14 January, authorities requested UNHCR and partners to support the refurbishment of a new big temporary emergency shelter near Belgrade and the voluntary relocation of homeless refugees and migrants from Belgrade there. On 15 January, UNHCR and partners disseminated this information in English, Urdu and Pashtu to homeless refugees/migrants.

  • The Centre for Social Work, supported by UNHCR and partners, continued to identify unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) among those staying rough in Belgrade city. Authorities assured that the a/m new facility for relocation from the city centre will provide for adequate protection-sensitive conditions and services for these children and other persons with specific needs. The first voluntary relocation of UASCs is scheduled to take place today, Monday 16 January.

  • On 13 January, the Spokesperson of the UNHCR in Geneva expressed concern over the risks faced by refugees and migrants in harsh winter weather in Europe, including reports that authorities of Balkan countries continue to collectively expel them (http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2017/1/5878e1c34/unhcr-calls-helprefugees-facing-european-winter-freeze.html)

  • UNHCR and partners in Serbia indeed received reports of foreign nationals still being collectively expelled, including from 80 refugees/migrants claiming to have been denied access to asylum procedures in Hungary but collectively expelled back into Serbia after having entered Hungary irregularly.

  • In January 2017, the police yet registered 364 new intentions to seek asylum in Serbia.

Pakistan: Crisis Response Bulletin, January 16, 2017 - Volume: 3, Issue: 03

17 January 2017 - 4:08am
Source: Alhasan Systems Country: Pakistan

Highlights:

Heavy snowfall halts life in Balochistan, Chitral, hilly areas

Experts call for effective land management

Met department forecasts rain, snow to continue till Wednesday

Climate change: Pakistan at seventh among top 10 most vulnerable countries

Calamitous: Many disaster bodies exist on paper only

Senate unanimously condemns Modi’s anti-Pakistan statement

Govt moves for speedy trial of terrorists

Army chief rubbishes Afghanistan’s claim linking Pakistan with terror attacks

China tightens security along Pakistan’s border

Terrorist attacks down 29 percent in 2016 to 11 years low: report

Pakistan rejects US claims of terrorists safe havens in FATA

Do we really need military courts?

Traffic rules to be made part of schools’ syllabus

Govt raises petrol, diesel prices

Pakistan: Vegetation Analysis Map of Pakistan (15 January, 2017)

17 January 2017 - 3:38am
Source: Alhasan Systems Country: Pakistan

Pakistan: Accumulated Rainfall Map - Pakistan (January 16, 2017)

17 January 2017 - 3:25am
Source: Alhasan Systems Country: Pakistan

QUETTA: Emergency has been declared on Sunday, January 15, 2017 in Balochistan as heavy snowfall continues for second day in different parts.
The ground contact of Quetta has been cut-off with Ziarat, Qilla Saifullah, Zhob, Loralai, Chaman, Bolan and Kalat. Two feet of snow, which is falling in patches, has been recorded so far in some areas of Quetta and three feet on the mountains of Ziarat and Kalat. Moreover, traffic on roads was blocked and Sibi-Guddu transmission line has also tripped due to which Quetta, Chaman, Mastung, Nushki, Dalbandin and other areas have been deprived of electricity. Business is completely shut down due to intense weather conditions and people are also facing transportation problems.

Pakistan: No polio case reported in city in 12 months, says official

17 January 2017 - 12:39am
Source: DAWN Group of Newspapers Country: Pakistan

FAIZA ILYAS

KARACHI: The city made history on Monday when it completed a year without reporting a single case of poliovirus, health department officials told Dawn.

“This is the first time in its history that Karachi hasn’t reported a single case the whole year. Fortunately, the reports of samples collected from various drains in the city have repeatedly come negative the whole year,” said coordinator for emergency operation centre, Sindh, Fayyaz Jatoi, adding that the city was close to eradicating the crippling disease.

According to him, the last polio case in Karachi was reported on Jan 16, 2016.

The city with a high population density, he pointed out, represented a major challenge to health officials and the development was a ‘great success’.

‘We have to win the war against the disease and gear up efforts’

“Once the virus goes into the body, it multiplies into millions and is discharged from the body through human waste. It’s a major achievement given the kind of sewerage system we have,” he said.

The anti-polio campaign which kicked off on Monday, he said, was part of a country-wide drive and in all districts in the province except Kamber-Shahdadkot, where staff faced problems in their movement owing to rains.

“There are a total of 30,000 mobile teams, of them around 12,000 are stationed in Karachi. All the 188 union councils of Karachi would be covered in phases in three to four days,” he said.

On refusal, he said that the internally displaced persons residing in UC-12 of Gulshan-i-Iqbal were reluctant to have their children vaccinated. “The deputy commissioner intervened in the case and talked to them. They have agreed to have their children, around 800 to 900 in number, vaccinated on Tuesday,” he said.

The number of refusals, according to him, has gone down drastically over the years. The reasons behind refusals mainly include misperceptions about the vaccine.

Last year, 19 polio cases were reported in the country; of them eight each were reported in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkha. There was no case in Punjab while the remaining three cases were reported in Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

During the present campaign, a total of 8.3 million children in the province (2.2m in Karachi) would be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Mural Ali Shah reiterated the commitment of his government to protect children from the crippling disease and said that the government would take every step to achieve zero polio prevalence during the current year.

“Though the number of polio cases has declined, we have to win the war against the disease and gear up efforts,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2017

Afghanistan: Pakistan supports Afghan-led peace process, says General Bajwa

17 January 2017 - 12:35am
Source: DAWN Group of Newspapers Country: Afghanistan, Pakistan

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said Pakistan supports an Afghan-led and owned peace and reconciliation process.

General Bajwa made the remarks during a meeting with US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel on Monday at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

"Blame games are detrimental to enduring peace," said Bajwa while referring to rhetoric against Pakistan following recent terrorists attacks in Afghanistan.

He added that Pakistan has conducted operations against terrorists of all "hue and colour" and there are no safe havens in Pakistan which are used against Afghanistan.

Bajwa, during the meeting with Votel, also expressed his commitment to fully cooperate with the US-led Resolute Support Mission in the neighbouring country.

The chief of army staff also emphasised on border security and intelligence sharing mechanisms with Afghanistan.

General Votel appreciated Pakistan's efforts and sacrifices in the war against terrorism and laid a wrath at the Martyr's Monument during his visit.

On Sunday, General Bajwa had telephoned and suggested installing a "robust border management mechanism and intelligence cooperation" to restrict the movement of terrorists.

Kenya: Kenya: Kakuma New Arrival Registration Trends 2017 (as of 16 Jan 2017)

16 January 2017 - 3:52am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Pakistan: Pakistan: Countrywide cold snap as Quetta valley shivers in eight-inch blanket of snow

16 January 2017 - 12:01am
Source: DAWN Group of Newspapers Country: Pakistan

LAHORE/CHITRAL/QUETTA/KARACHI: Six people lost their lives and two others suffered injuries as a cold wave caused by moderate rain and snowfall gripped different parts of the country on Saturday.

The weather system responsible for rain in Karachi over the past two days centred on Balochistan on Saturday, leaving many areas of the province blanketed with snow.

Described by meteorologists as a westerly wave, the weather system was predicted to enter northern parts of the country late on Saturday night and stay there till Wednesday, providing much-needed rain for crops in the plains and snow on the hills.

In Karachi, the weather turned cold as the rainfall continued for the second day on Saturday. The unexpected rain exposed the vulnerability of the city’s electricity supply system because of which at least six people were electrocuted over the past two days, including four on Saturday. The city’s outdated drainage infrastructure left key roads and several areas flooded.

The Met office has forecast rain for Sunday in Karachi and Lahore and rain and snowfall in Quetta and Peshawar.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah visited various parts of the city to examine the problems being faced by citizens and conceded that the city’s draining capacity was not up to the mark. “However, it has become better...the cleaning of nullahs and removal of encroachments has helped a great deal.”

Trade activity in Karachi came to a halt and factory output plummeted by between 50 per cent and 80pc in various industrial areas as a large number of employees failed to show up to work, mainly because of the unavailability of public transport.

There was light rain in some districts in Punjab including Layyah, Jhang, Multan, Bhakkar, Sargodha, Dera Ghazi Khan, Khanpur and Rahim Yar Khan.

Thousands of passengers were stranded in subzero temperature in the Lowari Pass area since Friday night as they were waiting for their turn to cross an under-construction tunnel that has been affected by snowfall.

A two-year-old boy suffering from pneumonia died after the vehicle he was in remained stranded for several hours. He had been referred to a hospital in Peshawar and an official at the Asherat police post told Dawn that his family had crossed the Mirkhani checkpoint at around 11pm on Friday and reached the Lowari tunnel, located 13km away, in the morning.

Heavy snowfall was reported in the mountainous areas of Malakand and Hazara divisions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Parachinar and other areas of Fata.

An official said the lowest temperature was recorded in Kalam, Swat Valley, where the mercury plunged to minus 10 degrees Celsius.

In Balochistan, heavy snowfall led to suspension of power in several districts, including Quetta. Two people were reported injured in a snow-related incident in the border town of Chaman. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on snowed-up highways.

The Khojak Pass, through which supplies go to the US troops stationed in Afghanistan, was snowed up as was the Quetta-Chaman highway linking Pakistan with Afghanistan. “We have deployed Levies and other staff to clear the highway and restore traffic,” said Kalat Commissioner Hashim zKhan Ghalzai.

Residents of Quetta visited the Hana and Urak valleys to enjoy snowfall. There was a heavy traffic jam in both valleys located some 20km from Quetta.

According to reports, there was over two feet of snowfall in Barboi, a hill station near Kalat, along with the Ziarat Valley, Khanozai and some other areas. The Quetta Valley was blanketed by eight inches of snow.

The four mountains surrounding the Quetta Valley — Chiltan, Zarghoon, Takato and Murdar — were snow-capped on Saturday.

A girl died and another was injured when the roof of their house in Khuzdar town caved in because of heavy rain.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2017

Pakistan: Pakistan: Karachi death toll rises to eight as rains continue for second day

15 January 2017 - 11:59pm
Source: DAWN Group of Newspapers Country: Pakistan

By IMTIAZ ALI and ASIM KHAN

The second consecutive day of rain in Karachi brought with it problems for city dwellers, as water flooded roads and power was disrupted in large parts of the city.

Four more people, including an eight-year-old child, died in rain-related incidents in the metropolis on Saturday, bringing death toll to eight, since Friday afternoon when moderate to heavy and intermittent rain lashed the provincial capital.

A young man died of electrocution in Azizabad area, as 11000 volt cable fell in accumulated rain-water, said police. Haris Yamin Memon, 28, was passing through Azad Ground in Bantwa Nagar, Block-3 of FB Area when he suffered an electricity shock and died. Another 28-year-old Nawaz Khan died of electrocution in Shadman Town, said officials at Taimuria police station. In a separate incident, Hasnain, 8, died due to electric shock in City Railway Colony, said rescue sources. Jamal, 30, died of electrocution in Lines Area and his body was brought to the Jinnah-Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Dr. Seemin Jamali, Executive Director of JPMC told Dawn.

Four people, including a minor, were also injured as the roof on an under-construction house collapsed in Shirin Jinnah Colony, reported DawnNews.

Traffic congestion

Traffic on roads leading to Nazimabad from Guru Mandir moved at a snail's pace as rainwater gathered on roads, compounding traffic movement problems especially in areas where the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit system is currently under construction.

Water build-up was also reported in the Tower, Hyderi, Malir, Kareemabad and Defence Phase VI areas.

DSPs and SHOs to be on roads, coordinate with traffic police

Meanwhile, Karachi police chief, Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar directed all zonal Deputy Inspector Generals (DIGs) and Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) to direct their Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs) and Station House Officers (SHOs) to be on main roads, coordinate with traffic police and local administration to help the general public who were facing a lot of problems due to heavy rainfall, which caused heavy traffic congestion.

The DSPs and SHOs were also directed to make close coordination with local administration and monitor the situation of localities nearby water drains and water reservoir in the areas of their responsibility.

Power outages

As many as 20 K-Electric feeders had tripped as soon as the city received rain, DawnNews reported.

In a tweet on their official page, K-Electric later claimed that most of these feeders had been brought back online and that "KE teams continue to work non-stop to ensure complete normalisation across the city".

However, residents from parts of Nazimabad, Gulistan-i-Johar, DHA Phase I, Phase II extension and Phase IV, Site, Garden West, Lyari, Malir and Baldia Town said Saturday afternoon that electricity had yet to be restored in their regions.

Ride-hailing services disrupted

Although popular ride-sharing service Careem on its Facebook page carried a message inviting patrons to " Seize this beautiful day with Careem", comments underneath the post revealed that many users had difficulties finding rides nearby.

People who did find a ride claimed that they had to wait for as long as an hour for the car to reach them.

Uber users also claimed that no cars were available in most areas and a multiple of at least 2x was applied to fares in areas where a ride could be hailed.

Temperature drops

The maximum temperature recorded in the city on Thursday had been 26 degrees Celsius, which dropped to 23 degrees Celsius on Friday. The minimum temperature too had dropped down to 10 degrees Celsius before the weekend.

According to the statistics of MET, PAF Masroor received 41 millimetre (mm) rain on Saturday, PAF Faisal 27mm, North Nazimabad 25mm, Model Observatory 19mm, Airport 13, Landhi 08 and Gulshane Hadid 07mm.

The Karachi Development Authority and District Municipal Corporation-South have announced a state of emergency in their respective areas.

Mayor visits various areas of Karachi

Meanwhile, Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar visited various areas of the city, said a press release. According to the handout, he said defective sewerage system, encroachments on drains and absence of storm water drainage are big challenges for the city, for which the provincial government should cooperate with them.

Akhtar said that permanent measures were required to solve the problem of accumulation of rainwater on main roads and its drainage.

“Drainage of rain water will take some time, however municipal bodies are carrying out the process as soon as possible," he said.

Pakistan: Pakistan: Disappearance of activists echoes in Senate

15 January 2017 - 11:56pm
Source: DAWN Group of Newspapers Country: Pakistan

By IFTIKHAR A. KHAN

ISLAMABAD: The sudden re-emergence of the phenomenon of enforced disappearances prompted a call in the Senate on Friday for legislation to bring state agencies under the ambit of law.

Speaking on a point of public importance, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said the Senate Committee of the Whole on speedy and inexpensive justice had recently forwarded its recommendations to the government, one of which was related to missing persons and included draft legislation to bring the state agencies under the ambit of the law.

He said it had been decided that if the government did not respond to the draft law then the parliamentary leaders would sign it and get it approved from the house as a private members’ bill.

Addressing the Senate chairman, he said that since a 60-day period was over, the recommendation of the report on speedy and inexpensive justice be implemented in letter and spirit.

“The mysterious disappearance of civil society activists from Islamabad soon after the Senate taking up the issue and the interior minister’s assurance that disappearances will not be allowed is a stark message to parliament, the interior minister and the civil society that their protests notwithstanding, citizens will continue to disappear with impunity. In the native parlance the message is ‘hor chupo’.”

Forcefully raising the issue of continued disappearances in the country, lately in the federal capital also, he said the whisking away of human rights activists is also a case in point.

“The situation is getting worse by the day. The Supreme Court identified those involved in the disappearance of 28 persons from an internment centre in Malakand, yet nothing happened.

“Mutilated bodies of the mysteriously disappeared have been found dumped in Balochistan. Their relatives have refused to register cases in what is clearly growing distrust and alienation from the state and society and the state is not moved.”

The senator regretted that not a single perpetrator involved in enforced disappearances had been held accountable.

“It is a wake-up call for parliament and the nation to address the issue before it is too late,” he said.

Minister of State for Interior Baleeghur Rahman was supposed to inform the house about the status of investigations into the latest incidents of mysterious disappearance of people, but could not make it. Law Minister Zahid Hamid informed the house that the minister of state had some pre-scheduled engagements and he would represent him.

He informed the house that the latest disappearance of a person from the federal capital had not yet been reported to police. He said the interior minister had taken notice of the disappearance and asked the police to obtain details in this regard. Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani pointed out that members of the victim’s family were talking about the disappearance.

He said Mr Rahman should inform the house on Monday about progress on the issue of five persons who had become victims of enforced disappearance during the past 12 days.

“Parliament appears to be deaf to the threats from these individual groups or government functionaries,” the chairman remarked.

During the question hour, the Senate was informed that cases of 15 non-government organisations (NGOs) receiving foreign funding were under process for registration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.

The law minister, on behalf of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, said the documents of the local NGOs receiving foreign contributions had been circulated among ‘stakeholders’ for their comments.

He said the finance ministry had a limited mandate regarding NGOs that was restricted to registration of local organisation receiving foreign funding.

Published in Dawn January 14th, 2017

Pakistan: Pakistan: FATA Return Weekly Snapshot (from 30 December 2016 to 05 January 2017)

15 January 2017 - 11:48pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Pakistan
  • Families returned this week: 1,648

  • Families returned in 2017: 1,040

  • Families returned total*: 228,324

  • Families remaining in displacement: 75,467

  • Total returned female-headed households*: 16%

    *since 16 March 2015

In the period from 30 December 2016 to 05 January 2017, 1,648 families returned to North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Kurram and Orakzai Agencies.

Afghanistan: Afghanistan Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 59 | 01 - 31 December 2016

15 January 2017 - 5:23am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Afghanistan, Pakistan

HIGHLIGHTS

• The humanitarian community is seeking US$550 million to provide assistance to 5.7 million of the most vulnerable and marginalised Afghans in 2017.

• EMERGENCY’s new maternity center in Panjshir province will help tackle Afghanistan’s infant and maternal mortality rates, which remain among the highest in the world.

• Children account for 84 per cent of casualties from landmines and UXO in Afghanistan. Mine risk education is an important tool to protect people – including children and displaced families – from this potential deadly risk.

• Food insecurity in Afghanistan is on the rise. MEDAIR are assisting farmers affected by food insecurity in Bamyan.

HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE PLAN 2016 FUNDING 3

39 million MYR revised request (US$)

197.2 million received (US$)

FLASH APPEAL 2016 FUNDING

152 million request (US$)

91.2 million pledges & contributions (US$)

The Flash Appeal ended in 2016, and continuing needs for people on the move are reflected in the 2017 HRP.

(Reflects funding on Financial Tracking Service as of 31 Dec 2016)
Source: http://fts.unocha.org

2017 HRP Afghanistan: 9.3 Million in Need

In 2017, the humanitarian community in Afghanistan is seeking US$550 million to meet, through collective and coordinated action, the acute life-saving needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised Afghans. Almost one third of the population, some 9.3 million people, will be in need of humanitarian assistance, a 13 per cent increase from last year. The principal goal of the humanitarian response remains focused on preventing loss of life, limiting preventable morbidity and human suffering and enhancing protection for displaced persons, civilians and returnees caught up in the conflict.
Therefore, an estimated 5.7 million people will be targeted for assistance under the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan is one of the most protracted humanitarian emergencies in the world.
Tragically for many Afghans, 2016 saw no let-up in the conflict,” said the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Mark Bowden. “This Humanitarian Response Plan is focused on meeting immediate life-saving needs; providing relief to Afghans affected by natural disaster and conflict and trauma care for war wounded patients.

Treatment to children with acute malnutrition, access to skilled birth attendance and maternal and new-born care in conflict stricken and hard to access districts, and ensuring the safety and security of families fleeing violence are also priorities”.

Corresponding with the growing severity and reach of the conflict, the humanitarian community identified needs across all regions, with the most severe in areas experiencing the greatest levels of violence as well as the adjacent provinces hosting the displaced.

For families facing sudden emergencies – conflict, disaster and displacement, the humanitarian response is often their only lifeline. In addition to those displaced by natural disasters, in 2016, more than 623,000 people in Afghanistan fled their homes due to conflict, the highest number on record, and a 30 per cent increase compared with 2015. This has occurred at the same time as the return of more than 600,000 Afghans from Pakistan and Iran. The 2017 HRP estimates at least another 450,000 IDPs this year, and as many as a million more returns are expected from Pakistan and Iran.

Around 56 per cent of the displaced are children, who face particular risk of abuse and exploitation, as well as interrupted school attendance and harmful child labour. Multiple forms of GBV, particularly early and forced marriage, domestic, psychological and sexual abuse are reported, affecting individuals in hosting and displaced communities alike.

In addition to meeting the immediate needs of the displaced, the 2017 HRP recognises that despite a decade of exceptionally high levels of international assistance, the poverty rate in Afghanistan has increased since 2011 and will likely further increase in 2017.
Over past years, the humanitarian community has been hesitant to divert limited available humanitarian funding to cover growing gaps in government delivery of basic services. But as the conflict expands, and with it the challenges in access to quality and safe healthcare, the humanitarian community is confronting heightened levels of preventable deaths. Estimates suggest over nine million Afghans have limited or no access to essential health services, including women who are pregnant and during childbirth, contributing to very high rates of infant and maternal mortality. Severe food insecurity is also on the rise: 40 per cent of the population are food insecure. In addition, severe acute malnutrition has breached emergency thresholds in 20 provinces, and over 1 million children need treatment for acute malnutrition.

While working to avoid overreliance on humanitarian services, the 2017 HRP prioritises activities with the potential to have the greatest impact on reducing loss of life, by complementing and enhancing basic service delivery to the most at risk, and in particular to those in NSAG-held territories, typically out of reach to government providers. This will ensure greater proportionality of humanitarian coverage. Years of growing insecurity in Afghanistan has had a debilitating impact on the ability and the willingness of humanitarian agencies to ensure reactive, flexible presence, which is responsive to meet the needs of people most impacted by the crisis. Insecurity too often dictates where agencies operate, resulting in unequal coverage of needs.

The 2017 HRP also addresses the changing nature of displacement. With more Afghans than ever before living an ambiguous and transitory existence in prolonged and protracted displacement, it is necessary to focus on meeting the needs of those who live in semi-permanent crisis.

Assessments continue to highlight the particular needs of protracted IDP communities, and increased competition for meagre resources with host communities. IDPs, often with rural skillsets and limited literacy, have limited access to labour opportunities. Women in particular find it very difficult to find work, or often are not permitted to work.

In addition, the absence of camp settings in Afghanistan and the urban nature of displacement has posed additional challenges on the humanitarian community in the identification of the humanitarian needs and the most vulnerable families. Eliminating vulnerability and ensuring safety, dignity and the ability to thrive and be self-reliant over the long term is well beyond the scope and capacity of humanitarian actions. However, greater coordination and synergy between humanitarian assistance and longer-term development efforts can ensure this extremely vulnerable population with acute humanitarian needs is not falling through the gap.

The Government and Humanitarian Community will jointly launch the 2017 HRP on 21 January 2017 at Sepidar Palace. The humanitarian community are welcome to attend this event; please contact UN OCHA Afghanistan if you are interested.

To download the 2017 HRP and the 2017 Humanitarian Needs Overview, please visit: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/operations/afghanistan

Afghanistan: Protection Community Assessment in Nangarhar

15 January 2017 - 2:10am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Protection Cluster Country: Afghanistan, Pakistan

Purpose

The Eastern Region has experienced a decrease in new displacement after the peaks reached in 2015 with the mass outfluxes from Kot, Acin, Charparkhar, Deh Bala, i.e. the districts severely affected by clashes between non-state armed groups (Taliban vs. ISIS-affiliated groups) and other military operations. The lower displacement rates may be put in relation to the population levels that are currently still present in these districts, after the exodus of the previous year. However, the Eastern Region, and particularly Nangarhar province and the districts around the provincial capital Jalalabad, remain one of the areas with the highest cumulative density of new, prolonged and protracted displacement, now compounded by thousands of newly arrived returning refugees and undocumented Afghans. This combination of factors places an unprecedented strain on resources, particularly land, and services that the government is not able to sustain1. Beginning in August 2016, the Eastern Region of Afghanistan has faced a massive surge of refugee returnees and undocumented Afghans from Pakistan following a long series of denial of refugee rights, police harassment, and humiliation in the country of asylum. An Initial Rapid Assessment4 was conducted in early September recommending a detailed Cluster-specific assessment and a tailored response. In addition, the humanitarian partners agreed to conduct a rapid multi-sectoral household-level assessment to assess the immediate needs of the population at the HH level. In order to contribute to the better analysis of the situation and to complement the findings, ER protection cluster partners agreed to carry out a community-level protection assessment with the purpose:

  1. To have an understanding of the protection concerns and risks that returnees (refugee returnees and undocumented returnees), host community and IDPs are currently facing or might face in the future;

  2. To understand better the situation in the six districts of high return related to the following questions:

    a. How the surge of returnees has stretched the current resources and basic services?
    b. How the surge has impacted the host community’s daily conditions?
    c. How the surge has impacted the daily conditions of IDPs?
    d. How have refugee returnees and undocumented returnees manage to settle?
    e. Is there a major difference in coping with the current situation between those population categories?

  3. What are the main concerns each of those categories have faced following the surge of return;

  4. To better orient the humanitarian response based on the needs identified after consulting the affected populations.

Afghanistan: Afghanistan: Returnee Crisis Situation Report No. 5 (as of 12 January 2017)

15 January 2017 - 1:38am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Afghanistan, Pakistan

This report is produced by OCHA Afghanistan in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from 30 December to 12 January 2017. The next report will be issued on or around 26 January 2017.

Highlights

  • In 2016, almost 620,000 undocumented returnees (249,832) and registered refugees (370,102) returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan. The overwhelming majority – 93% (577,454) – returned since July.

  • In the last month, no registered refugees have returned following the winter pause in UNHCR’s repatriation programme. Undocumented returns have also slowed, with 2,243 arriving between 1 and 10 January.

  • CHF partners NCRO and Relief International commenced cash distributions for food and shelter to 4,763 undocumented returnees in Behsud, Jalalabad and Sorkhrod districts on 27 December 2016 following extensive coordination to avoid de-duplication with other partners.
    Cash for winter assistance provided by AfghanAid to 1,847 undocumented returnees started on 5 January 2017, along with post distribution monitoring supported by members of the OCHA Humanitarian Financing Unit.

  • Reports of two groups of mixed returnee families settling in camp-like situations in Gamberi (500) and Khairokahil (300) districts in Laghman province are being followed up by partners with an inter-agency assessment planned for 15 January. To date, provincial authorities in Laghman have prevented the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those settled in Khairokhail, while only mobile health services, emergency latrines and water trucking (the latter of which stopped on 15 December) has been provided to those in Gamberi. Initial visits to both sites indicates that returnees are living in makeshift shelter and in need of winterisation support.

  • Following a sudden surge in pediatric admissions to Nangarhar Regional Hospital in early January – 197 children were admitted within 24 hours – the Department of Public Health (DoPH) has called for urgent additional support in the form of beds, equipment, personnel and medical supplies. While temporary measures have been put in place to ease overcrowding, including the allocation of a portion of the casualty ward to accommodate an extra 30-40 beds, more permanent solutions are required. The DoPH has initiated an assessment to determine the reasons behind the increase, although it is expected to be a combination of seasonal occurrences in winter-related illnesses, the influx of returnees and IDPs to the province and limited health services in surrounding areas which make the Hospital the service provider for a significant population.

  • In late December, the Education in Emergencies Working Group finalised its 2017 response plan. The plan, which has three overarching strategic objectives, will target 600,000 returnee and IDP children and has requirements of approximately USD 48.2 million.

Financial Update

The Afghanistan Flash Appeal, One Million People on the Move, was closed on 31 December 2016. Overall, the Flash Appeal received contributions totaling USD 91.2 million (60%, pledged and confirmed) against overall requirements of USD 152 million.

Requirements for registered refugees and undocumented returnees from Pakistan are now incorporated into the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan which can be accessed at the following link: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/afghanistan/document/afghanistan-2017-humanitarianresponse-plan.

Situation Overview

While no needs assessments have been carried out in the past two weeks, our understanding of the humanitarian situation has not changed: returnee families continue to be absorbed for the most part into host communities, where they are either accommodated by family or friends, or rent from private landlords. Isolated reports of small groups of returnee populations congregating in informal settlements have, however, been received in Kabul and Nangarhar province and are being followed up on, although generally the number later verified is found to be much smaller than that initially reported.

In addition to ongoing humanitarian response, partners have, over the last few weeks, been working to complete winterisation activities. So far, UNHCR have distributed cash for winter support to 22,406 vulnerable IDP, refugee, returnee and host families across the Central, Southern, North and Northeastern regions of Afghanistan, while in the Central Region 6,370 undocumented returnees have received shelter support and blankets. NGO partners, including NRC and IRC, have also distributed cash for winter support to 2,880 returnee households in Nangarhar province. Concerns of a spike in winter-related illnesses among particularly vulnerable populations, including the returnees, have so far not materialised: in the Northern region, 939 cases of pneumonia were recorded in the last week of 2016 in comparison to a three year average of 1,170.

Afghanistan: Afghanistan - Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2017

13 January 2017 - 5:52pm
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Afghanistan, Pakistan, United States of America

HIGHLIGHTS

• Conflict-induced displacement in 2016 surpassed UN projections

• Approximately 618,300 Afghans return from Pakistan in 2016

• UN reports that armed clashes increased by 23 percent compared to previous year

KEY DEVELOPMENTS

• An estimated 4.5 million people in Afghanistan require humanitarian assistance according to the UN as of December 13, exceeding the figure projected in the 2016 Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan by 400,000 people. The UN attributes the increase to the rapid rise in conflict-induced displacement and surge of approximately 618,300 refugees and undocumented Afghans returning from Pakistan, combined with existing humanitarian needs in the country.

• Ongoing clashes between Government of Afghanistan (GoA) forces and insurgent groups increased by an estimated 23 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, reaching its highest level since the UN began recording incidents in 2007. Across Afghanistan, conflict displaced more than 592,300 people in 2016, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

• In FY 2016 and to date in FY 2017, the U.S. Government (USG) contributed approximately $208 million—including $20 million and $19.6 million in FY 2017 funding from USAID/FFP and State/PRM, respectively—to respond to humanitarian needs resulting from the complex emergency in Afghanistan. USG partners continue to provide life-saving, multi-sector assistance to vulnerable populations.

World: Communicable Disease Threats Report, 8 - 14 January 2017, Week 2

13 January 2017 - 12:41pm
Source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Country: Afghanistan, Brazil, China, India, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States of America, Viet Nam, World

Abstract

​The ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) is a weekly bulletin for epidemiologists and health professionals on active public health threats. This issue covers the period 8-14 January 2016 and includes updates on Legionnaires' disease, Zika virus and seasonal influenza.