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UNHCR to rehabilitate street children in Karachi, enumerate Afghan nationals

By Our Correspondent
March 06, 2019

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has a $200 million fund for the rehabilitation of street children and is ready to work in Karachi if they are given an NOC.

This was conveyed to the Sindh government by UNHCR Representative to Pakistan Ruven Menikdiwela during her meeting with Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah at the Chief Minister’s House on Tuesday.

Shah told the UNHCR representative that the provincial government had decided to enumerate Afghan refugees living in Sindh, particularly in Karachi.

It was an introductory meeting of the UNHCR representative with the chief minister. In the meeting, they discussed Afghan and other refugees living in Karachi and the rehabilitation of street children in the city.

Menikdiwela told the chief minister that they had a $200 million fund for the rehabilitation of street children. She agreed to work for the rehabilitation of street children in the city if they were given an NOC to start the work. The chief minister directed the home secretary and the Karachi commissioner to issue an NOC to the UNHCR for the rehabilitation of street children in the city.

It is said that over 1.5 million homeless children are living in streets in the country, of them 30,000 are in Karachi. The Sindh government has already imposed a ban on beggary by children and is going to establish shelter homes for their rehabilitation.

Chief Minister Shah said that the provincial government had no idea about the number of Afghan and other nationals living in the province as refugees. He urged the UNHCR to enumerate them so that necessary measures in terms of water, food and other resources could be made accordingly.

According to a UNHCR report, Pakistan is home to at least 1.38 million registered Afghan refugees. Another million refugees live outside the formal refugee registration system. Over 50,000 Afghan refugees are settled in Karachi, but most of the circles do not accept these figures of Afghan refugees, particularly of Karachi. The chief minister urged the UNHCR to recount the Afghan refugees living in Karachi.