SHARP; a Non-Governmental Organization is working in Pakistan, as a humanitarian group, for the uplift of human rights in the country. SHARP is working with the mission to “strive for a human rights friendly Pakistan.”
SHARP was initially assigned registration of the Afghan refugees and non-Afghan asylum seekers in the year 1999 and later on in 2001 when UNHCR started screening of Afghan refugees in NWFP camps, SHARP was selected as a partner for the said programmed. SHARP hence assists UNHCR, in registration of the asylum seekers that compliments the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) of the asylum seekers and refugees through its legal assistance project. As an implementing partner of UNHCR, SHARP registers all refugees and asylum seekers approaching UNHCR for protection. All such cases are referred to SHARP where an experienced team of Legal staff collects the basic information of the applicant and hence registers them accordingly. After registration their cases are sent to UNHCR for further processing.
In the year 2002, SHARP assisted UNHCR as an implementing partner in facilitating the returns of Afghan refugees under the voluntary repatriation project. SHARP assisted UNHCR in repatriating 1.5 million Afghan refugees from NWFP, Sind, Punjab and Islamabad.
During the repatriation of Afghan refugees, it was envisioned that the returnees living in Pakistan for over two decades had lots of socio-legal problems barring them from repatriation. UNHCR then assigned SHARP with a unique project called the Advice and Legal Aid Centre (ALAC) to help returnees in their legal and protection issues, thus removing impediments to their voluntary return. Therefore, ALAC project was then designed to provide returnees and refugees information about their country of origin in order to enable them to make informed decisions as to their return. SHARP runs Advice and Legal Aid Centres (ALAC) for Afghan and non Afghan Refugees and Asylum seekers in different parts of Pakistan through designated offices in Karachi, Lahore, Mianwali and Head office in Islamabad. Advice and Legal Aid Centres (ALACs) have been established in both urban and rural areas close to refugee population concentrations. The objective of ALACs is to provide free legal aid in Legal and socio legal concerns of Refugees and Asylum seekers and counselling, including legal representation, to vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees in Pakistan that are in need of assistance.
Moreover, SHARP is also currently engaged in registration of the Pakistani IDPs coming in to Islamabad and Punjab from the war affected areas of FATA and NWFP.
Apart from its collaboration with UNHCR, SHARP has also been working in collaboration with the European Commission (strengthening trade unions /child labour), DFID and World Bank (HIV / AIDS prevention), Solidarity Centre (Human Trafficking), Islamic development Bank (vocational training centres for destitute women) and Action Aid (Attorneys of human rights) etc.