Islamabad, 20 June 2022 (TDI): On World Refugee Day, the European Union Delegation to Pakistan acknowledges the role of Pakistan in protecting the rights of refugees. It also highlighted the role of the ECHO in Pakistan.

In 2022, the EU allocated an initial €7 million in humanitarian support, bringing a total of €104 million to Pakistan since 2016. EU humanitarian aid supports people affected by conflict, including Pakistani internally displaced and returnees, Afghan refugees, and those affected by natural hazards.

The EU assists the most vulnerable displaced Pakistanis in their areas of refuge and in the destroyed areas to which they have returned. They receive support for education, and water and sanitation facilities.

Although most Afghan refugees are integrated into Pakistani society, more than half of them are considered extremely poor, according to official data. EU-funded projects assist them with healthcare services, nutrition, education, water and sanitation facilities, and legal protection services.

Response to natural hazards:

EU humanitarian funding also focuses on responding to natural hazards such as earthquakes, recurrent floods, and drought. For example, in October 2021, the EU provided emergency humanitarian assistance to families affected by the devastating earthquake. This earthquake had struck Pakistan’s south-western province of Balochistan.

The EU also supports programs to enhance the disaster preparedness capacity of communities in areas prone to both natural hazards and human-induced disasters. Current initiatives focus on strengthening health systems to prepare for and respond to malnutrition, recurrent droughts, and other disasters.

In 2020, it allocated close to €40 million in humanitarian funding, of which 60% went towards fighting COVID-19.

History of refugees in Pakistan

Pakistan has been hosting Afghan refugees for the past 4 decades, making it one of the recipients of refugees globally

Since 2021, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has recorded nearly 145,000 newly arrived Afghans who may need international protection. However, the real number is thought to be significantly higher.

Providing protection and basic lifesaving services for the most vulnerable Afghans remains a key priority. This is especially important for undocumented refugees, who are at most risk of deportation and have limited access to jobs and essential services.