Afghanistan

UNHCR projects in Afghanistan receive additional $15 Million from U.S.

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(Funds will assist Afghan refugees, returnees and IDPs) (550)
The United States is contributing an additional $15 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help fund its programs for Afghan returnees, refugees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 2003.

According to a media note released February 5 by the State Department, the United States had already contributed $6 million for 2003 to support UNHCR programs for Afghan conflict victims as part of its initial $65 million contribution to the agency.

"This contribution will help the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees continue to provide protection and emergency and reintegration assistance to millions of Afghan returnees, refugees, and internally displaced persons," said the note.

The United States contributed more than $67 million to UNHCR in 2002 for its Afghanistan operations, making it the largest contribution from any donor state, according to the media note.

"Most of those funds helped to assist in the repatriation and reintegration of 1.8 million Afghan refugees and internally-displaced persons, one of the largest refugee repatriations in the last 30 years," said the note.

The media note added that another 1.2 million Afghan refugees and 300,000 IDPs are expected to need repatriation in 2003.

The media note urged other donor nations to continue their support for UNHCR's projects for Afghan conflict victims, saying that continued success "depends on the sustained generous support of the international community."

Following is the text of the February 5 State Department Media Note:

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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 5, 2003

U.S. Contributes An Additional $15 Million To Assist Afghan Conflict Victims

The United States is pleased to announce a contribution of $15 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for its 2003 Supplementary Program for Afghan refugees, returnees, and internally displaced persons. This contribution will help the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees continue to provide protection and emergency and reintegration assistance to millions of Afghan returnees, refugees, and internally displaced persons. As part of an earlier, initial $65 million contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2003 programs, the United States contributed $6 million to support the programs benefiting Afghan refugees. In 2002, the U.S. contributed more than $67 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for its Afghan operations, the largest contribution of any donor state. Most of those funds were used to assist in the repatriation and reintegration of 1.8 million Afghan refugees and internally-displaced persons, one of the largest refugee repatriations in the last 30 years.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that it will facilitate the return and reintegration of at least another 1.2 million Afghan refugees and 300,000 internally displaced persons in 2003.

The massive repatriation operation in 2002 was possible only with the support of the United States and the rest of the international community. Continued success, likewise, depends on the sustained generous support of the international community. We urge other donors to do their share and support the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in its crucial work to assist Afghan refugees, returnees, and internally displaced persons. [End]

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(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)