Code 181202
PublishDate: Thursday, November 7, 2013 10:33

At UN, Pakistan calls for ‘serious steps’ for return of Afghan refugees to their homeland

Lack of adequate pull-factors in Afghanistan and continuing instability there had discouraged voluntary return

Focusing on the enormous burden of hosting millions of Afghan refugees for years, Pakistan on Wednesday urged the world community to help the Afghanistan government take “serious steps” for the creation of a safe environment in their country so that they (refugees) can voluntarily return to their homeland. 

“It is not dignified for the Afghan refugees to live in temporary shelters permanently,” Ambassador Masood Khan told the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural matters.

“They (Afghan refugees) must return to their homeland,” the Pakistani ambassador said, while pointing out that after 33 years Pakistan is still caring for over three million of them. 

Masood Khan, who was commenting on the annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), underlined the continuing relevance and important role of the agency, and said that while the plight of new refugees demanded more immediate attention, protracted refugee situations around the world must not be ignored or left entirely to host countries. 

Referring to the continuing presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, he said lack of adequate pull-factors in Afghanistan and continuing instability there had discouraged voluntary return, leading to a protracted refugee situation, which had resulted in serious socioeconomic consequences for the local people.
 (APP)

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