Pakistan has resumed its mass repatriation of Afghan refugees under a UN program weeks after an international human rights watchdog criticized Islamabad for deporting thousands to a war-torn nation.
Duniya Aslam Khan, a spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, made the announcement on Monday. The operation was halted in December for a routine winter break.
"The UNHCR voluntary repatriation program for registered Afghan refugees resumed today," Khan said, adding, "UNHCR advocates for all refugee returns from Pakistan to be voluntary, gradual and take place in conditions of safety and dignity."
Elsewhere in her remarks, the spokeswoman confirmed that the UN had cut its cash grant for returnees from $400 to $200, citing "financial constraints facing humanitarian operations worldwide".