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Pakistan joins the international community today in commemorating the World Refugee Day. This year, the Day is being observed in the backdrop of unprecedented public health and socio-economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges have exacerbated the vulnerabilities of those displaced by violence and conflicts.

This Day serves as an opportunity to take stock of the drivers of conflicts and reminds us to enhance investments in peace, conflict prevention and conflict resolution. It is also an occasion to reiterate our common resolve for refugee protection, to match the generosity and share the responsibility shouldered by large refugee hosting countries.

For over four decades, Pakistan has led by example in refugee protection. Pakistan has been one of the world’s largest refugee hosting countries. Pakistan still hosts around 3 million Afghans providing them necessary protection. The people of Pakistan have demonstrated exemplary values of generosity, solidarity and compassion towards the refugees in the country, showcased in Pakistan’s inclusive policies on public health, education and livelihoods, including during the on-going COVID-19 response.

The people of Pakistan have contributed more than their fair share of shouldering an international responsibility by hosting millions of refugees. Pakistan has also been playing a key role in facilitating sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

The pre-pandemic and COVID-compounded socio-economic and health challenges especially for developing countries that host millions of refugees necessitate global political and financial support that meets the needs of host communities and large refugee populations.

On this Day, Pakistan pays special tribute to the UNHCR for its commendable work with respect to advocacy, leadership and support to the refugees and host communities throughout the world, especially amidst the on-going pandemic.

Pakistan also reiterates its call for greater global responsibility-sharing, redoubling of efforts for durable solutions, and an early peaceful political settlement in Afghanistan that paves the way for dignified, time-bound and well-resourced repatriation of Afghan refugees supported by the international community.

20 June 2021

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