SHARP as an implementing partner of UNHCR since 1999 has been providing services to refugees and asylum seekers. SHARP being tested partner of UNHCR has rendered its services as partner in the screening process in the year 2001 in NWFP and later on huge repatriation program in the year 2002 when largest Human population was repatriated to Afghanistan soon after the fall of Kabul from Taliban Regime.
SHARP is also partner of UNHCR in providing legal assistance and Advice and Legal Aid Center (ALAC) Project since 2002 and through these projects served thousands of Afghan Refugees and asylum seekers legally and through registration as per mandate of UNHCR.
SHARP has a qualified team of lawyers working in all the centers as well as supporting staff.
Advice and Legal Aid Centers
In the year 2002 when the repatriation of Afghan Refugees was about to start, it was felt that some centers are required where returnees could get information about their country of origin (COI) before moving back to Afghanistan. The other core objective was to help returnees in their Legal and Protection issues. To serve the purpose SHARP was assigned to establish Advice and Legal Aid Centers (ALAC) in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and, Mianwali.
In 2005, UNHCR assigned SHARP to establish ALAC in Lahore as well to provide free legal aid, information about country of origin to the Afghan refugees living in Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Kasur districts.
By 01 January 2007, UNHCR office in Karachi was going to be closed. Therefore, during the last quarter of 2006, UNHCR assigned SHARP to establish ALAC in Karachi and provide free legal aid and information on country of origin to Afghan refugees living in Karachi.
All these centers are actively rendering services and so far thousands of Afghan refugees have been benefited from these centers by seeking free Advice and Legal Aid. These centers are also playing a vital role of bridging the communication gap between Afghans refugees and the concerned authorities, thus making them aware about the international legislative framework regarding refugee rights.
The basic strategic plan of SHARP’s ALAC centers includes early intervention, outreach activities and the provision of legal aid. The activities carried out in this connection include visits, coordination meetings, legal camps, seminars and workshops.
Legal Assistant Project (LAP)
In Pakistan Refugees and Asylum seekers (Afghan & Non Afghan) have no access to any form of free legal assistance on their status and durable solutions. SHARP, as an implementing partner of UNHCR has contributed in extending legal protection to Afghans and Non-Afghan asylum seekers / refugees by registering their claims for Refugee Status Determination (RSD) in accordance with procedural standards of registration under the UNHCR mandate.
Counseling of Refugees / Asylum Seekers: Under the same project SHARP has been facilitating the refugees in terms of counseling regarding their cases decision. This additional task was entrusted with the Legal Assistance Project in February 2005 by the UNHCR. SHARP is also extending its services to beneficiary population who are in need of counseling about their status at any stage of their case. The LA staff guides the refugees and asylum seekers regarding their cases decision, meaning of appeal (in case of first instance rejection), procedure and how to file appeal.