Highlighting that Pakistan is hosting over 3.5 million Afghan refugees, a Pakistani delegate has urged the developed countries to financially help the developing countries caring for large number of refugees, and also offer the option of resettlement in the third countries.
“International community needs to provide adequate, predictable, regular and sustainable financial support in line with the principle of responsibility sharing for the Afghan refugees in the neighbouring countries,” Saima Saleem, a counsellor in Pakistan Mission, said in a UN panel on Friday.
Saleem was participating in an interactive dialogue with Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural matters Pakistan, she said, was committed to the principle of voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees, “in safety and dignity”, but that must be backed by time-bound return and repatriation plans. In this regard, she said Pakistan concern over the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Afghanistan, especially as winter approaches, and called for immediate steps to rectify the situation.
Under the circumstances, the freezing of the Afghan government’s overseas assets is entirely unjustified,” the Pakistani delegate said, adding that intensifying suffering of the Afghan people could trigger massive outflow of refugees, revive internal displacement within Afghanistan and threat of terrorism from there.
“Bilateral and international sanctions are impacting the work of the humanitarian organizations and have disabled banking and financial sectors.” she added. Earlier briefing the committee, Grandi, the UNHCR, who rallied governments to draw inspiration from the world’s 82 million people forcibly displaced who refuse to give up on their quest to build a better life. In making that call, he invoked the seventieth anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, celebrated this year, and appealed for renewed international solidarity.
“We must never forget that nobody wants to live with the anxiety of exile, he said, describing UNHCR’s focus on solutions.
From Afghanistan and Yemen to Ethiopia and elsewhere, he requested more resources and the establishment of enabling conditions to serve those in need, hindrance free. He objected to the construction of walls and the outsourcing of asylum management in wealthier countries, stressing that borders should be kept secure without compromising the dignity of refugees.