Life, Asia - Pacific

Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan urge support for refugees

International community should stand with countries hosting million of refugees, nations say

Islamuddin Sajid   | 17.06.2019
Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan urge support for refugees

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and the UNHCR urged the international community Monday to support countries hosting millions of refugees.

The demand came during the Sixth Quadripartite Steering Committee Meeting in Islamabad, where the issue of repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan and Iran was discussed.

Participants reaffirmed their assurance to the principle of voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity and called for joint efforts to create an environment conducive to phased, gradual and orderly voluntary return and sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan, as well as to continue to more appropriately support host communities in Iran and Pakistan, within the SSAR framework, according to the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.

The regional multi-year Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) provides a framework for cooperation between humanitarian and development actors to address the needs of Afghan refugees.

"We urged the international community to fulfill their pledges and provide support to all those countries who are hosting millions refugees," said Shehryar Khan Afridi, the federal minister for States and Frontier Regions Division (SAFRON) dealing Afghan refugees.

Pakistan hosted more than one million Afghan refugees in line with the spirit and precedence set by the Ansaar of Madinah who sacrificed their lives and assets by sharing everything with migrants from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, who migrated along with Prophet Muhammad, he added.

"For the last 40 years we are hosting the Afghan refugees. Now the time has come that the global community should fulfill their promises and help Pakistan and Iran to resolve Afghan refugees problems" he said.

The UN refugees agency, UNHCR, praised Islamabad and Tehran for hosting Afghan refugees and said it would support host communities in refugees’ host countries.

Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriation for Afghanistan Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi also thanked Pakistan and Iran for hosting refugees and requested an extension of the timeframe for repatriation of Afghan refugees as his country still has issues of security.

The legal stay of 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees would end June 30.

The Iranian Deputy Minister for Interior Hossein Zolfaghari said his country extended several facilities to refugees living in Iran.

"Iran has enhanced services for Afghan refugees, issued driving licenses, regularize parts of the population and has been issuing 550,000 work visa annually," he said.

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