IOM initiated its work in Pakistan in 1981 following a government request for assistance with the influx of Afghans into the country. The organization has since expanded its programmes to support a broad range of activities from humanitarian response to migration management. Pakistan signed as a Member State of IOM in 1992 and established a Cooperation Agreement with IOM in October 2000.
As an active participant in the Delivering as One UN Programme in Pakistan since its inception in 2009, IOM co-leads the strategic priority area for “Increased National Resilience to Disasters, Crises and External Shocks.” For more information on One UN in Pakistan, visit www.un.org.pk.
IOM’s Operations and Movement Unit in Islamabad has been supporting refugees and migrants through various resettlement and family reunification activities for more than 30 years. Family reunification and resettlement to countries including Australia, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom are core activities of the mission. The respective governments call on IOM’s services and expertise for arrangements of safe movement for refugees who have been accepted under resettlement programs. Additionally, IOM Pakistan facilitates processing of cases under the United States Refugee Admissions Programme (USRAP), which falls under the Regional Support Center in Damak, Nepal.
To support refugees and skilled migrants prior to their departure from Pakistan, IOM offers Cultural Orientation Programmes with specifically developed content for Canada (refugees and skill migrants) and Australia (refugees). In addition, IOM Pakistan collaborates closely with other IOM missions worldwide to support voluntary return and reintegration activities.
Migration Health Assessment Centres (MHAC) in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Mirpur provide Immigration Health Assessment Services to prospective migrants and refugees bound to Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The Health Assessment Programme in Pakistan started in 2001 to facilitate immigration medical activities for New Zealand-bound migrants and refugees. The programme expanded further in 2007 after implementing Pre-departure Tuberculosis (TB) Screening for the United Kingdom.
In addition, IOM Migration Health Centres provide Departure Health Checks for Australian-bound refugees and DNA sample collection services for immigrants bound to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Italy. Pre-departure health assessments are targeted for detection of communicable diseases to reduce public health threats to the destination country. Such health assessments also support the host country by early detection and initiation of treatment for communicable diseases, including active tuberculosis. Simultaneously, awareness raising activities have been incorporated into the screening programmes to sensitize individuals on better health seeking behaviours.
In parallel to the health assessments, IOM’s Migration Health Division (MHD) in Pakistan provided primary health care support to vulnerable, disaster-affected populations following the 2005 earthquake and massive flooding during 2010-2011. Additionally, MHD is also supporting the Government of Pakistan to develop migrant-sensitive health policies to address the health of migrants through a multi-sector approach.
IOM Pakistan works closely with the Government to address issues related to migration management and counter-trafficking. Among other initiatives, IOM is supporting the EU-funded ’Pilot Initiative to Monitor Readmission in Ukraine and Pakistan (MONITOR)’. The project aims to establish a system for monitoring the situation of readmitted persons, as well as the implementation of European Union Readmission Agreements in third countries. IOM also partners with the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) to deliver counter-trafficking awareness sessions for Pakistani peacekeepers prior to their deployment to various missions abroad.
IOM has longstanding experience delivering humanitarian assistance and coordinating emergency response in close collaboration with the Government of Pakistan. Its Humanitarian Unit oversees the design and implementation of various projects focusing on humanitarian preparedness, response and recovery.
Shelter and NFIs
Following massive and consecutive floods in Pakistan between 2010 and 2012, IOM provided emergency shelter and NFI assistance to flood-affected individuals. In addition, vulnerable families have been supported to build safer, low-cost and flood-resistant shelters in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa following the floods. Furthermore, IOM continues to support populations affected by the protracted complex emergency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), reaching displaced and returning families with emergency shelter and NFIs since 2008.
Coordination and Capacity Building
IOM leads the national shelter sector in Pakistan, chairing a Shelter Working Group at federal level to promote harmonized approaches to shelter/NFI assistance in natural disasters. Since 2011, IOM has overseen humanitarian preparedness planning for the Shelter/NFI and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) sectors. Furthermore, IOM’s CCCM capacity building programme, rolled out under the IOM-led Shelter Cluster in 2011, trains government and humanitarian partners on principles and standards for effective management of temporary settlements (http://cccmcapacitybuildingpakistan.iom.int/).
Launched in 2009 and later extended to reach more than 30 districts, IOM’s Humanitarian Communications programme in Pakistan provides critical information to populations affected by natural disasters and complex emergencies. Most recently, the programme has targeted displaced and returning populations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas through radio campaigns, print advertisements and awareness raising sessions.
Pakistan Security Awareness Induction Training (PSAIT)
Launched in 2008, the Pakistan Security Awareness Induction Training (PSAIT) supports humanitarian workers operating in potentially hostile environments to assess and mitigate security risks, enhancing their ability to deliver assistance safely and effectively to populations in need. In addition, PSAIT also offers a wide variety of specialized courses aimed at responding to the needs of development and humanitarian organizations working in Pakistan. Recently an E-learning course titled ‘Staying Safe in Pakistan’ has been developed, allowing users who cannot attend regular training events to develop an understanding of security issues and learn basic mitigation strategies online. The E-learning portal can be accessed at http://elearningsait.org.
Main text: April 2015
Facts and figures: August 2014