SHARP History

SHARP started off with a partnership with UNHCR for the screening and registration of asylum seekers, and Afghan refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (then North Western Frontier Province or NWFP), Pakistan. This partnership established in 1999 continues till this day. SHARP has developed expertise in the legal processes of Refugee Status Determination (RSD) of the asylum seekers. SHARP makes the registrations, and after completing legal formalities, it forwards these cases to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (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 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (then NWFP), Sindh, Punjab, and Islamabad. Later on in 2002, the repatriation process for Afghan refugees started. As SHARP had already been involved with refugees, it learn about refugees facing many problems with the repatriation process. Most of the refugees were illiterate or with very little education, they did not understand the legal complications involved in the repatriation process. SHARP started another project to provide legal advice to repatriating Afghans. It established, in partnership with UNHCR, Advice and Legal Aid Centers (ALAC) in districts where large populations of Afghan refugees lived. These districts include Karachi, Lahore, Mianwali, and Rawalpindi/Islamabad. SHARP services are not restricted to Afghan refugees alone, it extends these services to non-Afghan refugees, and asylum seekers as well. However, SHARP has not restricted itself to provide services to refugees. It has collaborated with other partners including DFID, World Bank, Solidarity Center, Islamic Development Bank, Action Aid, International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), and Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC). SHARP has worked on strengthening trade unions to prevent child labor, HIV/AIDS prevention, human trafficking, women’s financial empowerment through vocational training, and capacity building and networking of lawyers as Attorneys of Human Rights. Dedication and hard work has paid off. SHARP has served millions of destitute and needy people during past 18 years. It continues to explore new areas to serve the marginalized segments of the society.