Pakistan has called for robust humanitarian and development assistance by the international community to fulfill the needs of refugees as well as host countries while expressing concerns that 86% of the total world refugees population of 65 million is being hosted in developing countries, including Pakistan. This was stated by Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Lt Gen (R) Abdul Quadir Baloch while speaking as head of Pakistan’s delegation at the 68th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Programme (UNHCR ExCom) today in Geneva.
Minister Baloch reminded the international community that Pakistan had demonstrated unparalleled generosity and hospitality by hosting Afghan refugees for over 38 years, the largest and the longest refugee situation since the Second World War. Pakistan continued to provide unhindered access to education, healthcare and livelihood opportunities to the Afghans. Due recognition for this immense public good was not forthcoming and international solidarity remained unpredictable and insufficient, he added.
He also expressed serious concern on the recent exodus of half a million Rohingya Muslims within a month due to violent persecution in Myanmar, and urged the United Nations to ensure protection of Rohingyas, provide them necessary relief and ensure their safe and dignified return home. He called for a comprehensive approach that entails resolution of conflicts and long term political settlements to address root causes of displacements.
Minister Baloch provided an overview of strong counterterrorism measures taken by Pakistan. He asked the international community to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifices rendered by Pakistani civilians and security forces against the menace of terrorism .
In his response to the Minister’s statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi appreciated Pakistan’s immense contribution in providing protection to Afghan nationals for close to four decades. He agreed to the Minister’s assertion of renewed focus on the durable solutions, particularly voluntary repatriation. The High Commissioner assured the Minister that UNHCR was committed to ensure that burden borne by Pakistan was equitably shared through continued financial assistance for protection of refugees.
Minister Baloch later attended a reception organized by the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations in Geneva to canvass support of the UN member States for Pakistan’s candidature to the UN Human Rights Council for the term 2019-2021. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister elaborated on the human rights credentials of Pakistan, its vibrant democracy and free media. Mentioning Pakistan’s experience at the Human Rights Council, he urged the participants to render their support to Pakistan.
2 October 2017