ISLAMABAD-The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Pakistan Ms Noriko Yoshida Tuesday called on the Federal Economic Affairs Minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and discussed matters of mutual interest.
Minister for Economic Affairs warmly greeted the Representative, UNHCR in Pakistan and appreciated the assistance of UNHCR launched emergency relief efforts in affected areas with high concentrations of refugees during 2022 floods. Ms Noriko appreciated the support of Pakistan for hosting the largest number of refugees in the world. She shared that the UNHCR’s presence in Pakistan began with the protection of Afghan refugees for which the organisation-built refugee camps, assisted new arrivals, documented, registered and protected individuals. Despite facing its own economic and social challenges, Pakistan has always maintained its tradition of hospitality by offering refuge to those in need. The minister appreciated and highlighted that the impact of Afghan refugees on Pakistan remains complex and multifaceted.
The influx of Afghan refugees has had a significant impact on the Pakistan economy. Despite facing numerous challenges, Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over four decades. The presence of such a significant number of people has strained the country’s resources and social services, infrastructure, such as healthcare, education, and housing. The Pakistan government is making efforts and has been actively working with the UNHCR to assist in the reparation of Afghan refugees. Ms Noriko also apprised the minister that Pakistan was co-convener of the Global Refugee Forum 2022 that took place in December 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland and brought the international community together to demonstrate solidarity with the world’s refugees.
She further stressed that the Global Refugee Forum 2023, which is scheduled to be held in December, 2023, will provide an opportunity to build on the significant progress made by governments and other stakeholders towards the implementation of pledges and initiatives announced since 2019.