Working to Protect IDPs and Returning Refugees
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have returned to Afghanistan–mostly through forced repatriation and cruel deportation policies. In parallel, thousands more Afghans become internally displaced from their homes, every day, due to the insecurity and natural disasters afflicting the country.
In 2014, WAW partnered with The UN Refugee Agency to respond to this crisis. And, today, WAW’s services have evolved to provide more than 850,120 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and refugee returnees with life-saving protection and monitoring services.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that the global Afghan refugee population – which includes some 2.7 million registered refugees and millions more undocumented – is the second-largest in the world. But the numbers of refugees returning to Afghanistan have surged over several years, driven by draconian deportation policies, rising public sentiment against refugees, geopolitical considerations, with new rounds of deportation spurred by political rifts and economic crises.
This crisis of returning refugees in Afghanistan is exacerbated by one of the world’s most acute internal displacement crises, instigated by the country’s protracted conflict, ongoing insecurity, and natural disasters.
In fact, in the first half of 2019 alone, about 319,000 new displacements were recorded in the country: 213,000 associated with conflict and 106,000 associated with disasters.
WAW is serving conflict-induced internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the influx of refugee returnees to Afghanistan–particularly from the European Union, Iran, and Pakistan–through a project entitled the Protection and Monitoring Project (PMP). The PMP has expanded WAW’s support services to include local community integration and reintegration efforts for IDPs and refugee returnees by strengthening the monitoring of protection environments, such as camps and temporary shelters in addition to WAW’s longer-standing programs such as our Family Guidance Centers, Women’s Protection Centers, and Children’s Support Centers.
The Protection and Monitoring Project (PMP)
Using its proven community-based approach, WAW’s PMP targets newly displaced and protracted IDPs, refugee returnees, undocumented returnees, and host communities–with a specific focus on the needs of women, children, and other vulnerable persons with specific needs–and ensures that:
- protection risks and concerns of IDPs and Refugee Returnees are identified and analyzed;
- persons with specific needs are identified and referred for further assessment and assistance;
- communities are monitored and community level concerns are identified and referred for further assessment;
- protection incidents are systematically documented using the Protection Cluster methodology;
- awareness is raised regarding the needs of IDPs and refugee returnees by working and advocating jointly with the UNHCR to seek interventions through other partners, stakeholders, and agencies; and
- (re)integration efforts of displaced and returnee communities are supported by empowering persons of concern to identify potential community protection measure (CPM) projects to:
- address protection risks;
- atrengthen their resilience and prospects for (re)integration; and,
- promote peaceful coexistence within hosting communities.
GOALS OF THE PMP
- Increasing the understanding of trends and vulnerabilities of IDPs.
- Contributing to multi-sector joint assessments carried out at an inter-cluster-level to respond to new displacement;
- Identify Persons with Specific Needs (PSN) through coordination with the PSN Network;
- Support the empowerment of communities of concerns and empowerment of women and children by engaging them in the identification of assets and needs and proposing mitigation measures to address protection risks.
- Considering Prevention from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) in all monitoring visits, highlighting beneficiaries at risk, and providing a safe, effective complaint mechanism to prevent PSEA.
Displacement has become a familiar survival strategy for many Afghans and, in some cases, an inevitable part of life for two generations. The situation is further complicated by widespread unemployment, poverty, landlessness and a lack of basic services. Drought, floods, earthquakes, storms and avalanches also cause displacement throughout the country on a yearly basis.
IDMC - The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center
Following the arrival of more than 610,000 refugees and undocumented Afghans in 2017, combined with ongoing conflict and drought related displacement across the country, the country’s capacity to absorb new arrivals remains under significant strain and negative coping mechanisms such as re-migration are increasingly prevalent.
2018 Joint IOM-UNHCR Summary Report
Where the PMP Works
In partnership with UNHCR, WAW implements its Protection and Monitoring Project in Afghanistan’s:
- Northern Region
- North Eastern Region
- Eastern Region
Working with Refugees in the U.S.
In New York, WAW’s Community Center (NYCC) is a lifeline and second home to refugees and asylum seekers coming from Afghanistan and other South Asian and Muslim countries. WAW provides side-by-side support to arriving refugees and asylum-seekers by ensuring they have access to public benefits, housing, education, and employment. WAW stays with each client and family until they are ready to stand on their own. NYCC staff’s language proficiency in Dari/Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, Hindi, Spanish, and English has allowed WAW to extend its services to any individual who may seek our support in New York.