PM calls for global support for refugees from Syria to Afghanistan

Gov’t committed to provide relief to the poor segment of society

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday called for renewed policy focus and arrangement of resources to address the suffering of refugees across the world.

“From Syria to Palestine to Afghanistan, their plight calls for renewed policy focus and resources,” he said in a tweet, on World Refugee Day.

The prime minister termed refugees as “the worst victims of wars and conflicts” besides inflicted by poverty and economic inequality.

He called for global efforts to the developing countries that were extending support to refugees. “The world should help developing countries who continue to host a large number of refugees,” he said

The Foreign Office in a statement issued on the World Refugee Day said Pakistan joined the international community in commemorating the day and expressed solidarity with refugees all around the world.

“This Day behooves us to reflect on the drivers of forced displacements and to reaffirm our commitment towards finding sustainable solutions for refugee situations, including through conflict prevention and resolution,” it said.

The FO said the day was also an occasion to reiterate collective resolve for refugee protection under the principle of international burden- and responsibility-sharing.

“Pakistan has shouldered the responsibility of one of the largest and most protracted refugee situations in the world for over four decades. Pakistan continues to host more than three million Afghans,” it said.

The FO said another 0.4 million Rohingyas had also found refuge in Pakistan and the people of Pakistan had demonstrated exemplary generosity, hospitality, and compassion towards the refugees in the country.

It emphasized that as new situations emerged around the globe, the long-standing Afghan refugee situation must not be forgotten by the international community.

“There is a need for renewed international commitment, especially in the context of COVID-compounded socio-economic and health challenges, through regular, predictable and adequate financing for Afghan refugees including their safe and dignified return,” it said.

The FO said it was equally important to undertake necessary measures for the stability and sustainable socio-economic development of Afghanistan, in order to avert the possibility of any future refugee exodus from the country.

“On this Day, Pakistan pays special tribute to UNHCR – the United Nations refugee agency – for its commendable work in support of refugees and host communities throughout the world. Pakistan looks forward to further strengthening its valuable partnership with UNHCR,” it said.

“We call on the international community to support the Organization in its efforts towards durable solutions for refugees worldwide,” it added. Meanwhile, As Pakistan joined the world to commemorate World Refugees Day on Monday, President Dr Arif Alvi called for resolve by the international community to continue its collective efforts and support for refugees around the world.

The president, in his message on the Day, said Pakistan continued to host one of the largest refugee population around the world.

Beginning in 1979, millions of Afghan refugees started arriving in Pakistan and have continued to do so over the past four decades depending on conditions within Afghanistan, he added.

He said despite the declining international support for Afghan refugees over decades, the Government of Pakistan had provided all possible facilities including food, shelter, access to educational and medical facilities and ample livelihood opportunities for them.

President Alvi said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, testing and vaccine facilities were also provided to 1.43 million registered Afghan refugees and 850,000 Afghan Citizen Card Holders as part of the National Covid Program.

“As such, there should be no doubt about the commitment of Pakistan to the cause of refugees and the international community has acknowledged the contributions of Pakistan for this international cause… Pakistan will continue to work with the international community for durable solutions for the issues of refugees around the world,” he remarked.

He said World Refugees Day was designated by the United Nations to commemorate the strength and courage of people who had been forced to leave their countries unwillingly. It is also an occasion to promote empathy to comprehend the issues of refugees and to recognize their plight and resilience, he added.

The president said that the refugees remained one of the most vulnerable segments of the people and the ultimate solution to their problems was the promotion of peace and stability in the countries of their origin so that they could return to their homeland with dignity and honor.

 

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