UNHCR representative says Pakistan deserver special recognition for its commitment to Afghan refugees


One million children born as refugees during last three years globally

Zubair Qureshi

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency has revealed that almost 1 million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020, that calls for greater efforts to prevent and end conflicts.

According to a newly released Global Trends report by UNHCR, it is estimated that the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million – a 4 per cent increase on top of the already record-high 79.5 million at the end of 2019.

Turkey hosts the largest refugee population worldwide with 3.7 million refugees, followed by Colombia with 1.7 million, and Pakistan with 1.4 million Afghan refugees.

The online event was attended by the UNHCR Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Noriko Yoshida, the Commissioner for Afghan Refugees (Islamabad Headquarters), Mr. Farid Ullah Jan, other government officials, representatives from diplomatic missions, UN agencies, partners, civil society and refugees.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, called for greater political will to address conflicts and persecution that force people to flee.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Yoshida said the continuous rise in forced displacement worldwide is alarming.

“Despite its own challenges, Pakistan’s commitment to Afghan refugees has never diminished; it deserves special recognition”, Ms. Yoshida said.

She appreciated the Government of Pakistan for its policies that include refugees, such as its national COVID-19 vaccination programme, and for the access to educational opportunities and health care that the country provides.

Referring to the Support Platform for Afghan Refugee Solutions created in 2019, she appreciated and welcomed the renewed interest shown by the international community in sharing the responsibility and burden with Pakistan in hosting Afghan refugees.

Mr. Jan from the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees, the government body responsible for managing Afghan refugee affairs in Pakistan, welcomed further international support for Pakistan’s efforts.

“The people of Pakistan opened their hearts to refugees and welcomed them when they fled conflict. For over forty years, we left no stone unturned in our support to refugees,” he said.

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