Areas of support:
- Support to refugees and asylum seekers
- Support to internally displaced persons
Support to refugees and asylum seekers: Pakistan hosts 1.5 million Afghan refugees and has been the world’s largest refugee hosting country for more than three decades. UNHCR, together with the Government of Pakistan (GoP), facilitates the voluntary and dignified return of refugees to Afghanistan, assisting in their initial return, and supporting their longer-term reintegration. For those Afghans who cannot return sooner, UNHCR works to ensure that their basic protection needs are met and that they enjoy access to basic services while in exile.
The Pakistan Federal Cabinet on 25 July 2013 endorsed a new policy on Afghan refugees, including extension of their registration status until the end of 2015, within the framework of the regional Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees. UNHCR assists Pakistan in its consideration of refugee legislation.
UNHCR conducts refugee status determination on behalf of the GoP. There are currently more than 5,000 individually recognised refugees (Afghans and other nationalities). UNHCR often seeks third-country resettlement as a solution for the most vulnerable refugees.
UNHCR is actively engaged in the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) initiative that provides support to the hosting areas inhabited by refugees to mitigate the impact of an additional population living alongside the local community. The initiative creates and supports basic services through development interventions for Afghan refugees and Pakistani communities.
With synergies between community-based assistance and RAHA interventions, and with increased cooperation with UN sister agencies, UNHCR aims to enhance the capacities of the Government and local communities to gradually mainstream refugees into national and local public services.
Support to internally displaced persons: UNHCR supports the Government in dealing with displacement by providing assistance and services. UNHCR assistance includes: registration of newly displaced and returning populations; setting-up of camps when required; maintenance of basic services in the camps in cooperation with other humanitarian actors; supplying core relief items for newly displaced families; and assistance with return shelter and transport. UNHCR also leads three clusters in the response to the humanitarian situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas: the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, the Emergency Shelter Cluster, and the Protection Cluster.
Indrika Ratwatte, Representive, UNHCR
Mr. Indrika Ratwatte, a Sri Lankan national, began his career with UNHCR in 1992 when he was a Refugee Affairs Officer with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Since then he has worked for UNHCR in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hong Kong, Croatia, at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva, the regional office in Bangkok, Pakistan and Tanzania. Before returning to Pakistan as UNHCR Representative in early 2015, he was Deputy Director at the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in Geneva.
Mr. Ratwatte earned a B.A. with Honours in English and Sociology at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. He went on to study law at the Law College of Colombo, and later received a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York. He also attended Oxford University in the UK where he studied International Human Rights and Refugee Law.