The Integrated Protection and Legal Assistance for Afghan Refugees project, titled IPLAAR, aims to provide comprehensive protection services to Afghan refugees in Pakistan through contributing in SHARP refugee protection activities as partners of UNHCR by enhancing capacity for more effective response. Supported by Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), the project duration is 24 months, from December 2022 to November 2024. The project sites include Islamabad, Haripur, Mardan, Kohat, Rahimyar Khan, and Sukkur. Phase-I of the project started in December 2022 and completed on 30th June 2023. Currently, activities under phase-2 are in progress. The project has following key Objectives:
I. Provide legal aid/assistance: The
project seeks to offer legal aid and assistance to Afghan refugees. This objective focuses on ensuring their protection from various forms of harassment, extortion, and illegal detention. The support will be extended to refugees residing in both refugee villages and urban areas.
II. Build capacity of stakeholders: the
project aims to enhance the capacity of key stakeholders such as police officials, public prosecutors, civil society organizations (CSOs), media personnel, lawyers, and relevant government authorities. This objective entails training and education on human rights, refugee rights, as well as national and international obligations.
III. Promote social cohesion: The
project aims to foster social cohesion at the community level. This objective is crucial for ensuring the protection of refugees in the face of any security scenario. By promoting social cohesion, IPLAAR seeks to create an environment that is supportive and inclusive for both Afghan refugees and the host communities.
Project Beneficiaries: The project aims to benefit a total of 102,780 individuals, primarily Afghan refugees residing in the targeted areas.
Project Goal: The overarching goal of IPLAAR is to ensure the provision of protection services for Afghan refugees in Pakistan. This involves safeguarding their rights, preventing harassment, extortion, and illegal detention in refugee villages and urban areas.
More about the project: SHARP-Pakistan is partner of UNHCR providing integrated protection services and legal assistance to Afghan refugees and asylum seekers since December 2022 with the support of State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Switzerland. The project is for the period of two years aiming at maintaining, strengthening and expanding access to legal assistance and remedies for persons of concern who are identified to be in need of such interventions through legal teams and through awareness-raising activities, which focus on prioritized numbers of direct beneficiaries both among persons of concern and key actors including judges, public prosecutors, police officials, the civil society and media to create an enabling protection environment for Afghan refugees. Under this initiative, SHARP aims to support, facilitate and provide access to free legal assistance and remedies to the targeted population through legal teams and pro bono lawyers in project interventions areas.
– Free legal information: Information is basic right of every one particularly those who are under refuge and facing multiple social and legal issues and need to be protected by providing them with accurate legal information. SHARP provides legal information to refugees and asylum seekers on their issues and offers legal assistance wherever and whenever is required. In this regard, constant legal camps are arranged in refugee settlements – both urban and rural – beside sharing information through other means including print material. These services are provided free of cost and at the doorstep of refugees and asylum seekers to protect them from overburdening and any sort of harassment. The legal camps are conducted by SHARP’s team of lawyers and counsellors at Refugee Villages and urban settlements to ensure maximum participation of Afghan refugees. Free legal information is being provided in matters pertaining to registration and legal documentation procedures; POR card and PCM; and Country of Origin related information.
– Free legal services in cases (court representation): SHARP provides free legal aid services to Afghan refugees in courts and police stations in cases of arrest under 14 Foreigners’ Act and Preventive Law (55/109, 107/151 etc.), illegal arrests, detention and harassment. We have female lawyers for female refugees so that they share their concerns without hesitation.
– Free advice, legal assistance and counselling: SHARP provides free advice and counselling to Afghan refugees on a range of legal matters. We are providing advice and counselling in cases of POR cards, birth registration, voluntary repatriation, civil and financial matters, cases of 14FA, 55/109 and 117 etc., correction and loss of POR cards, birth certificates, education certificates and other legal documentation.
– Free information and assistance regarding voluntary repatriation: SHARP provides free information regarding voluntary repatriation of refugees with the principle of safety and dignity; and services available in Voluntary Repatriation Centers (VRCs) of UNHCR. Our lawyers provide assistance and guidance to Afghans seeking information on procedure and services available at VRCs in cases of voluntary repatriation.
– Referrals: SHARP has strong networking ties with government departments, UNHCR and other service providers to facilitate Afghan refugees through our established referral mechanism.
HELPLINE SERVICE: SHARP has established helpline numbers at various project locations such as Islamabad, Kohat, Mardan, Haripur, Rahim Yar Khan and Sukkur to offer immediate legal aid to Afghan refugees. These helpline number are operational ensuring continuous assistance.
Rahim Yar Khan
IMPORTANT NOTE: All services being provided by SHARP-Pakistan, under this project or any other programme, are absolutely free of cost.