UNHCR Representative pledges continued support of refugees and host communities after first-ever visit to Peshawar

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PESHAWAR, 13 August 2020: The UNHCR Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Noriko Yoshida, concluded her first-ever three-day visit to Peshawar by pledging UNHCR’s continued support of Afghan refugees and their host communities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

During the UNHCR Representative’s first-ever visit to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, she visited various locations and project sites, as well as met with Afghan refugees, host communities, UNHCR partners and government officials. The UNHCR Head of Sub-Office in Peshawar, Mr. Bernard Inkoom, accompanied her throughout her visit.

Ms. Yoshida had an opportunity to discuss the opportunities and challenges that refugee communities face with refugees themselves. UNHCR’s efforts to implement projects in the areas of health, education and water and sanitation were particularly welcome.

During a meeting with government officials, Ms. Yoshida advocated for the inclusion of refugee youth in provincial youth empowerment programmes, such as vocational skills training and other activities aiming at strengthening their capacity. On the occasion, she acknowledged and appreciated the generosity of the people and Government of Pakistan for hosting refugees for over four decades.

When meeting with partners, she expressed her appreciation for the role that partner staff have played during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Yoshida lauded them for staying and delivering and for reaching out to refugee communities residing in far-flung areas.

Ms. Yoshida also visited the Voluntary Repatriation Centre and the Proof of Registration Card Modification Centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She observed as UNHCR staff carried out their activities – from iris scans to refugee birth registration – and took the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Ms. Yoshida also attended the ground breaking ceremony for a government primary school in Peshawar, along with the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Establishment, Mr. Mohammad Shehzad Arbab. She also inaugurated a multipurpose model community center in the Khazana refugee village. On the occasion, she noted that young people need platforms to showcase their talents and that this community center will be used for learning and community-building.