UNHCR urges Afghan refugees to renew their PoR cards to retain refugee status
ISLAMABAD: The UN refugee agency urges all Afghan refugees, who hold Proof of Registration (PoR) cards that have expired by 31 December 2012 and who have not yet collected their renewed PoR cards, to approach their nearest registration centre, before the deadline of 31 December 2014. In order to continue to be considered as refugees, Afghans with PoR cards must renew their cards by this date.
Following the decision by the Government of Pakistan in July 2013 to extend the validity of the PoR cards, the process of replacing PoR cards that expired in December 2012 with the new cards started in February this year and will conclude on 31 December 2014. The PoR card is an important identity document that provides temporary legal stay of registered Afghans in Pakistan, and is valid until 31 December 2015.
“The renewed PoR card is a very important identity document that grants legal status and protects Afghan refugees from arbitrary detention and deportation during their temporary stay in Pakistan. It is also required for Afghan refugees who wish to avail UNHCR’s cash assistance to repatriate to Afghanistan and we urge refugees who don’t yet have their new cards to come forward in the next three months.” said the UNHCR Officer in Charge, Yoshimi Saita in Islamabad.
During the PoR card renewal exercise that was jointly conducted by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and UNHCR, to date more than 90% of Afghan refugees have received their new PoR cards.
However, NADRA have confirmed that 120,639 PoR cards have not yet been collected. Through six PoR Card Modification (PCM) centres in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Haripur, Rawalpindi and Quetta, which are operated by NADRA, registered refugees can collect and/or modify their renewed PoR cards and register the births of their children up to age five. Moreover, some 182,000 children who have reached the age of five years since the last PoR card issuance exercise in 2010 and who are already registered with their parents can now receive their individual PoR cards.
All Afghan refugees holding PoR cards issued by NADRA with a validity date of 31 December 2012 are eligible to receive the new cards. Afghans must bring their existing PoR cards to the registration centres.
From January 2015, UNHCR will only consider Afghan refugees holding the new PoR cards with the validity date of 31 December 2015 for any services provided by the agency and its partners, including assistance for voluntary repatriation to Afghanistan. Afghans still carrying the old PoR cards with the validity date of December 2012 will no longer be entitled to any assistance provided by UNHCR and its partners.
Registered Afghan refugee parents who wish to register their children up to age five need to present the children at the PCM centre as well as any documents testifying their birth. In addition to being registered in the PoR card database, the children will be issued with a birth certificate by NADRA, which is an essential civil document that will be required on many occasions during the life of the child (enrolment at school, issuance of identity documents, application for jobs, marriage registration etc.).
Afghan refugee children who are already registered with their parents and have turned five years since the last exercise will also need to be present at the PCM centre for the issuance of their first PoR card.
Registered Afghans can contact the following hotline 0343 8555151 for more information and SMS their PoR card number to 7000 to find out where to collect their renewed PoR cards.