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UN Secretary General Pakistan’s visit bearing fruit

UN Secretary General participated in an international conference titled “40 years of hosting Afghan Refugees in Pakistan” during his three-day visit to Pakistan on February 17th. Mr Antonio Guterres delivered his keynote speech at the event where he stressed upon the world community to take solid steps for the well-being of refugees. In this regard the EU’s announcement of financial help for refugees is the trigger that can prompt the world community to do more.

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency welcomed the European Union’s generous humanitarian aid of €21 million for Afghan refugees and their host communities in Iran and Pakistan.

This funding will be channelled towards basic services, such as health, education and access to water.

The announcement of the additional humanitarian funding was made at the Refugee summit Islamabad, which marked 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

The conference was co-organized by the Government of Pakistan and UNHCR.

The announcement of the additional humanitarian funding was made at the Refugee Summit Islamabad, which marked 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

The European Union’s gesture demonstrates continued commitment towards solidarity and burden- and responsibility-sharing with countries such as Pakistan, which hosts large numbers of refugees.

Authorities concerned greatly lauded the recent humanitarian gesture of UNHCR for helping Afghan refugees. Pakistan was host to about 4 million Afghan refugees. However, the 2014 repatriation reduced their number to just 1-2 million. Their immense contribution in the economic uplift of the country is vastly appreciated by the Pakistani Govt.

UNHCR called upon the international community to further extend its support to refugees and their host communities in Pakistan and Iran, as well as provide targeted development assistance inside Afghanistan to support the sustainable reintegration of returnees.

Read more: Opinion: Forty years of Afghan Refugees: Effects on Pakistan & their repatriation

In December 2019, a Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees

(SSAR) was launched at the Global Refugee Forum with three objectives: enhancing international solidarity and burden- and responsibility-sharing; promoting additional investments and expanding partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders; as well as increasing the visibility for the Afghan refugee situation globally.

This funding will be channelled towards basic services, such as health, education and access to water.

According to the European Union, this humanitarian assistance will also help families affected by the recent extreme weather conditions in Balochistan and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir, as well as floods in southern Iran.

Read more: Mahira Khan lauds Pakistan’s service to Afghan refugees on ‘World Refugee Day’

The recent announcement brings the EU humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan to €300 million for the period of 2016-2020.

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