Australia Announces New Funding for Undocumented Afghan Returnees on World Refugee Day

Undocumented Afghan families returning from Pakistan arrive at IOM’s Spin Boldak transit center in November 2016. Photo: Matthew Graydon / IOM 2016

Afghanistan - Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) today (20/06) announced AUD 4 million (USD 3 million) in funding to support IOM Afghanistan’s assistance to vulnerable undocumented Afghan returnees.

In 2016 Afghanistan experienced unprecedented inflows of returning refugees and undocumented migrants. Over 620,000 people returned from Pakistan and 440,000 from Iran. Another 670,000 people were internally displaced inside the country.

This year, as of 10 June, over 100,000 Afghans, including over 68,000 undocumented returnees, have returned from Pakistan.  This figures represents a 250 per cent increase over the first six months of 2016.

In 2017 IOM Afghanistan has already assisted over 63,000 Afghans returning from Pakistan and Iran. It expects to help nearly 293,000 undocumented Afghan returnees with immediate humanitarian assistance this year.

Australia’s contribution to IOM Afghanistan will include accommodation for families at IOM’s transit centres located at major border crossing points, provision of medical screening, hot meals, household and kitchen items, petty cash for transportation, food rations, and referral services for special needs cases including single women and unaccompanied migrant children.

“Australia’s humanitarian assistance focuses on supporting the most vulnerable, with a particular focus on women, children and people with a disability,” said Australia’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Richard Feakes, announcing the funding. “Australia’s support to IOM will help ensure those Afghans returning from Pakistan without documentation receive critical protection and health support to enable them to rebuild their lives in Afghanistan.”

Many returning families have lived outside Afghanistan for three decades and need support from the government and humanitarian actors both on arrival and as they seek to reintegrate into a country struggling with widespread conflict and displacement.

“Support to Afghan returnees is now more critical than ever,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission and Special Envoy Laurence Hart. “As numbers continue to increase with nearly one million people returning to Afghanistan since last year, this new funding from Australia highlights the pressing needs of Afghans returning home in difficult circumstances.”

Under the Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan, IOM is appealing for USD 52.8 million to provide post-arrival assistance to the most vulnerable undocumented Afghan families returning from Pakistan and Iran in 2017.

For further information please contact Sarah Craggs at IOM Afghanistan, Tel. +93.729228556, Email:


SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities