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UNHCR appreciates international support for Afghan refugees

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday appreciated the commitment of interna­tional community to continue support to Afghan refugees and host communities in Pakistan. “Pakistan has been hosting Af­ghan refugees for forty long years, many of them hoping to return home when they see conditions improve inside Af­ghanistan,” said UNHCR Representative, Noriko Yoshida, adding
“But Pakistan de­serves more of our support. Today’s visit to a refugee village in Haripur shows the international community’s resolve and solidarity to meet the needs of Afghan refugees and their host communities.”
Yoshida made these remarks during a field visit in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa accom­panying a delegation of several European countries – including Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland as well as the European Union.
UNHCR and the delegation met with Af­ghan refugees and Pakistani host commu­nity members in Haripur to listen their stories and how they live together side by side as communities, as well as their out­look on the future. In Kalabat Township, the delegation also visited a vocational and technical training center. Countries within the delegation have been contrib­uting to technical and vocational train­ing as part of UNHCR’s sustainable live­lihoods programs for Pakistani host community and Afghan refugee youth.
Yoshida said that the field visit was an opportunity for the delegation members to see how their support was being trans­lated into tangible benefits for host com­munities and refugees in Pakistan. The Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees was also represented during the field visit. They helped provide further infor­mation about the local reality that Afghan refugees face, and the impact of both hu­manitarian and development assistance.
Yoshida welcomed the European Union’s participation in the field. The European Union will take a lead role in 2021 as the inaugural chair of a group of countries – the Core Group – that will join their common efforts to help renew inter­national support to a Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees.
The Strategy was devised first in 2012 by the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, and UNHCR. Its aim is to foster support for Pakistan and its ef­fort to protect and assist refugees, as well as ensure support for host communities.
The Strategy also focuses on the support needed for voluntary repatriation and the sustainable reintegration of refugees in Af­ghanistan. A Support Platform, which in­cludes all three countries and UNHCR, was established in 2019 at a Global Refugee Forum in Switzerland to better guide sustained efforts to drive forward the Strategy.

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