Pakistan hosts the largest number of refugees in the world after Turkey and Columbia
World Refugee Day is a reminder of the importance of peace, prevention and resolution of conflicts, as well as the global support to refugees and host countries, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in his message.
The “reaffirmation of global support to refugees and host communities as a shared responsibility and a global response that commensurates is imperative” now more than ever as “the devastating impact of COVID-19 has compounded the vulnerabilities of those already displaced by violence and conflicts.”
FM Qureshi said that over the past forty years, the people of Pakistan have demonstrated exemplary generosity, solidarity and compassion in hosting millions of Afghan refugees.
He also called for early peaceful settlement in Afghanistan that paves the way for time-bound, gradual, well-resourced and mutually agreed framework for the repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland.
Pakistan is the third-largest refugee-hosting nation in the world, after Turkey and Colombia, hosting 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees, according to the UNHCR Global Trends report released on World Refugee Day 2020. The number was much higher a couple of decades earlier when Afghanistan was rife with internal conflicts between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.
In his message on Twitter, Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) and Narcotics Control Shehryar Afridi shared that the total number of registered and undocumented refugees in Pakistan is around 3 million.
In February 2020, Pakistan hosted an International Afghan Refugee Conference in Islamabad to mark 40 years of Afghan refugees presence in the country to find durable solutions to the Afghan protracted refugee situation. The conference jointly hosted by Pakistan and the UN was also attended bye UN’s Secretary-General António Guterres.
The UN chief also asked the world to support Pakistan in its efforts. “Pakistan has provided the world with a global public good supporting Afghan refugees and it’s time for the international community to assume its responsibilities, and to support Pakistan very meaningfully.”
The UN chief spoke alongside Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also admired the role played by Pakistan and Iran in hosting Afghan refugees over the years.
Refugees are highly vulnerable to disease, hunger and other risks. The world currently has the highest levels of displacement on record with nearly 71 million people around the globe have been forced from home owing to different events.