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Information Leaflet for Asylum Seekers in Pakistan

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Information Leaflet for Asylum Seekers in Pakistan

The purpose of this leaflet is to provide refugee claimants (asylum seekers) with basic information on asylum application in Pakistan.

1. Who is a refugee?

According to the Article 1(A) of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is any person

- who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence - who has a well founded fear of persecution

- whose refugee claim is related to one of five reasons (race, nationality, religion, political opinion and membership of a particular social group)

- who cannot return to his/her country or origin or habitual residence for any of these reasons 2. What are the UNHCR Refugee Status Determination procedures?

There are several steps/procedures to be followed while applying for a refugee status determination. Each step is explained in details below;

i) Application:

To apply for asylum in Pakistan, the applicant must come to the relevant UNHCR or its partners’ offices in person. The applicant must bring original documents, such as passports, ID cards and certificates, if available.

The application should include the names of all the family members, address, telephone number, date of arrival in Pakistan, reason to flee the home country and reasons why he/she cannot return back to the country of origin. Application can be written in the native language of the applicant or any language which the applicant is able to express themselves well.

ii) Protection Needs Assessments

After approaching one of the below mentioned offices to launch an asylum application, applicants are scheduled for a Protection Needs Assessment interview to identify their protection needs. If you are found to be fulfilling the criteria, you are referred for registration with UNHCR.

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iii) First Instance Interview

Following registration, Applicants will be called for an interview. On the day of the interview, please bring all the accompanying family members, as well as an appointment slip or a letter issued to you at the time of registration. When considering your claim for asylum, UNHCR relies on your statements. To the extent possible, you should provide all documentation to support your application. Identity cards, military service papers, school or university certificates, political party membership card/certificate, birth certificates, documents of release from detention etc. may be useful evidence. You are expected to help UNHCR in assessing your claim by providing them with true facts and any concrete evidence you are able to obtain in relation to the important aspects of your claim. However, UNHCR is aware that you may not have brought with you all documents from your home country; therefore failing to produce any supportive documents will not be held against you. Please do not try to produce forged documents as this will not help your case. You may be called for an interview more than once.

iv) First instance decision

After the interview(s), you will be notified whether you have been recognized as a refugee or not. Please note that the refugee status determination procedure can take several months, especially for complicated cases.

If your application is accepted and UNHCR recognized you and your dependents as refugees, you will receive a refugee card which is valid for 12 months. It does not mean that you automatically have legal immigration status in Pakistan. However, this card serves to protect you against forcible return to your country of origin or habitual residence. At the same time, UNHCR will try to assist you finding a long term solution.

v) First instance rejection and appeal

If your application for refugee status is rejected as a result of the 1st instance interview, you will receive a letter explaining a reason for the rejection. The letter will explain that you have the right to file an appeal to the relevant UNHCR office for reconsideration. You must appeal within one month from the day you are notified about the rejection.

If you choose to appeal against the 1st instance decision, please try to concentrate on the reasons given for rejection and focus only on the facts that are the most important for your claim, such as the main reasons for your flight from your home country and the reasons why you cannot return back to your home country.

Once you submit the appeal letter to the relevant UNHCR office, you may be called for an appeal interview if needed. Otherwise your case will be decided on the basis of your appeal letter.

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The following chart is designed to explain the whole appeal procedure

Application

Protection Needs Assessment / Registration

1

st

Instance Interview

Rejection or Acceptance

Appeal Application

Identification of durable solution

(Within 4 weeks after the result)

Appeal Interview

(If required by UNHCR)

Appeal Rejection Appeal Acceptance

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Offices to approach for help

If you are in Islamabad, please contact SHARP office in Islamabad SHARP Office in Islamabad

Address: House No. 279-A, Nazim ud din Road, F-10/1, Islamabad Opening: Monday - Thursday (0800-1630hrs) & Friday (0800-1230hrs) Tel: 051-2211621, 2211740

Fax: 051-2212773

Hotline Tel: 0334-1112004

If you are in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, please contact UNHCR Sub Office Peshawar or SACH Peshawar Office

UNHCR Sub Office Peshawar

Address: 1 Gul Mohar Lane, University Town Opening: Monday - Thursday (0800-1630hrs) & Friday (0800-1230hrs)

Tel: 091-5842375/6 Fax: 091-5842102

SACH Peshawar

Address: 18-C/2, Chinar Road, University Town Opening: Monday - Friday (0800-1630hrs) Tel: 091-5843440

Hotline Tel: 0300-8580417 If you are in Punjab Province, please contact SHARP office in Lahore

SHARP office in Lahore

Address: House No. 365, PAK Block, Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore. Opening: Monday- Thursday (0800-1630hrs) & Friday (0800-1230hrs) Tel: 042-37800710-37800711

Fax: 042-37803160

Hotline Tel: 0334-111 2005

If you are in Mianwali, please contact SHARP office in Mianwali SHARP office in Mianwali

Address: House No. A-3/3, Muslim Colony, Mianwali

Opening: Monday - Thursday (0800-1630hrs) & Friday (0800-1230hrs) Tel: 0459-381238

Fax: 0459-232237

Hotline Tel: 0334-111 2006

If you are in Sindh Province, please contact SHARP office in Karachi SHARP office in Karachi

Address: House No. B-108, K.D.A Scheme 24, Gulshan e Iqbal, Karachi Opening: Monday - Thursday (0800-1630hrs) & Friday (0800-1230hrs) Tel: 021-34811571, 34972697

Fax: 021-34812184

Hotline Tel: 0334-111 2008

If you are in Balochistan Province, please contact UNHCR Sub Office Quetta UNHCR Sub Office Quetta

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UNHCR Pakistan Contact Information

UNHCR Branch Office Islamabad, Pakistan, Protection Unit

PO Box 1263, Diplomatic Enclave – 2, Quaid-e-Asam University Road, G-4, Islamabad

Tel: +92 (0)51 2829502-06 Fax: +92 (0)51 227 9455

Email: pakisprt@unhcr.org Hotline: + 92 (0)300 501 8568

UNHCR Pakistan website: http://unhcrpk.org/

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