UNCHR urges Pakistan for refugees’ rights amid humanitarian crisis

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Lahore: In response to the escalating human rights violations in Afghanistan, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has accelerated its efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of Afghan refugees, sheltering in Pakistan, said a UNHCR spokesman.

While talking to News Lens Pakistan Qaiser Afridi, the UNHCR spokesperson in Pakistan said that the deportation of Afghan refugees amidst the ongoing humanitarian crisis is a critical issue on human grounds. Afridi underscored the need for countries like Pakistan to exhibit flexibility in their policies towards Afghan refugees, urging them to soften their policies regarding asylum and protection.

 He said, “Pakistan is currently home to approximately 1.3 million Afghan refugees, with many having lived there for over four decades. Despite Pakistan not being a signatory to the Refugee Convention and its protocols, the government has extended assistance to Afghan refugees, issuing Proof of Registration (PoR) cards and Afghan Citizen Cards (ACC) to thousands.”

He further said, “The situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated in recent years, leading to a significant influx of Afghan refugees into Pakistan with approximately 600,000 arrivals in 2021 alone. The UNHCR has repeatedly urged countries not to deport Afghan refugees due to the dire humanitarian challenges they face back home, including restrictions on education and employment, particularly for women and girls.”

 Afridi highlighted the importance of international support, emphasizing the need for solidarity with host countries like Pakistan, which bear a significant burden in providing refuge to those fleeing conflict and persecution. The UNHCR pledged technical and financial assistance to Pakistan in managing the Afghan refugee crisis, while also advocating for broader global support through initiatives like the Global Compact on Refugees.

As the world grapples with increasing displacement and humanitarian crises, the United Nations remains committed to promoting peace, development, and the protection of vulnerable populations worldwide. The UNHCR’s call to action serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility to uphold the rights and dignity of refugees, ensuring their safety and security in times of uncertainty.

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