ISLAMABAD: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency Thursday welcomed the European Union’s generous humanitarian aid of €21 million for Afghan refugees and their host communities in Iran and Pakistan. This funding will be channelled towards basic services, such as health, education and access to water.
The announcement of the additional humanitarian funding was made at the Refugee Summit Islamabad, which marked 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan. The conference was co-organized by the Government of Pakistan and UNHCR.
The European Union’s gesture demonstrates continued commitment towards solidarity and burden- and responsibility-sharing with countries such as Pakistan, which hosts large numbers of refugees.
UNHCR called upon the international community to further extend its support to refugees and their host communities in Pakistan and Iran, as well as provide targeted development assistance inside Afghanistan to support the sustainable reintegration of returnees.
In December 2019, a Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) was launched at the Global Refugee Forum with three objectives: enhancing international solidarity and burden- and responsibility-sharing; promoting additional investments and expanding partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders; as well as increasing the visibility for the Afghan refugee situation globally.
According to the European Union, this humanitarian assistance will also help families affected by the recent extreme weather conditions in Balochistan and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir, as well as floods in southern Iran.
The recent announcement brings the EU humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan to €300 million for the period of 2016-2020.