Joint efforts to Strengthen Collaboration in Afghanistan on Returns and Reintegration


Kabul - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Afghanistan are working closely to ensure sustainable return and reintegration in Afghanistan in close collaboration with the Government of Afghanistan and other partners.

On return to Afghanistan, UNHCR as the UN Refugee Agency provides humanitarian assistance to registered Afghan refugees returning to Afghanistan, while IOM as the UN Migration Agency provides assistance to undocumented Afghan returnees. Together with the Government of Afghanistan and the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, UNHCR and IOM have been actively coordinating the provision of humanitarian post-arrival and reintegration assistance since 2002 and 2007 respectively.

UNHCR and IOM have launched a joint -first in its kind- report on returnees to Afghanistan for 2017 that underlines close partnership between the two organizations.

“This joint report reflects our shared commitment to assist the most vulnerable,” said IOM’s Chief of Mission, Laurence Hart. “In spite of the inherent challenges of returning home after many decades abroad, IOM and UNHCR are working hand in hand to ensure sustainable solutions are provided to returning Afghans”.

“We continue to assist Afghan refugees who voluntarily return home each year. As our report details, the challenge lies in a whole-of-community response that leaves no one behind,” UNHCR Country Representative, Fathiaa Abdalla said. “UNHCR and IOM work together to complement each other’s efforts in areas of high return, with partners and the Government of Afghanistan, for greater efficiency and to ensure support to those communities to mitigate protection risks.”

Each year, registered Afghan refugees and undocumented Afghans make the decision to return home from the Islamic Republics of Iran and Pakistan, notwithstanding the difficult environment in Afghanistan. Since 2002, more than 5.24 million registered Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan of whom over 58,000 in 2017 as detailed in the report. Given the scope of the ongoing conflict, high levels of internal displacement, already overstretched services and difficulty finding jobs, returning Afghans face protection risks and significant barriers to sustainable reintegration.

In early February, the two organizations held a strategic consultation workshop in Kabul to strengthen collaboration in Afghanistan. Speaking at the Workshop, UNHCR’s Country Representative, Fathiaa Abdalla and IOM’s Chief of Mission, Laurence Hart, emphasized the importance of “building upon existing synergies, to better serve persons of concern and bring positive change to the most vulnerable”. On 20 March, the UNHCR and IOM Representatives in Afghanistan attended the joint UNHCR-IOM meeting in Islamabad to discuss the current situation of Afghans in Pakistan and returns – and to explore potential areas for joint activities and collaboration.

Access the latest report here.

For further information please contact: 

IOM Afghanistan: Eva Schwoerer, Email:, Tel. +93729229129

UNHCR Afghanistan: Nader Farhad, Email:

  • IOM, UNHCR launch joint report on returns to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran.

  • Cover of IOM, UNHCR joint report on returns to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran.