Support for Afghan refugees sought
Concerned over the spike in Afghan refugee returns and "challenges" due to the sudden influx to re-integration programmes, nations including India taking part in Heart of Asia summit on Sunday asked the global community to provide generous support and targeted assistance to them while lauding Pakistan and Iran for hosting millions for decades.
The nations asked the global community to support the Afghan returnees in the region, with emphasis on youth, education and livelihoods while terming tripartite commissions on voluntary repatriation under a UN programme, mandated to protect and support refugees as "vital" steps in the solution strategy.
"We commend countries in the region and beyond, particularly Iran and Pakistan, for their hospitality in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over three decades.
"We call on all these countries to continue hosting the Afghan refugees until their sustainable repatriation and reintegration in Afghanistan can take place in a voluntary, safe, gradual and dignified fashion, in accordance with the solutions strategy for Afghan refugees to Support Voluntary Repatriation, sustainable reintegration and assistance to host communities," the Amritsar Declaration at the 6th Ministerial Conference of HOA said.
The nations in the declaration welcomed the Afghanistan-Pakistan-UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)) and Afghanistan-Iran-UNHCR Tripartite Commissions on voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from Iran and Pakistan, as vital steps in the "Solutions Strategy".
"We are concerned by the recent spike of Afghan refugee returns and the challenges that this sudden influx presents for returnee re-integration programmes,” the declaration said. “We therefore urge the international community to provide generous support and targeted assistance for Afghan refugees, returnees and host communities in the region, with emphasis on youth, education and livelihoods," the declaration said.