June 20, 2019
Every year on June 20, UNHCR marks the World Refugee Day. This year world refugee day was celebrated on 20th June 2019 at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad. In his speech to commemorate the World Refugee Day 2019, the Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Mr. Shehryar Khan Afridi said that the emerging and protracted situation such as that we had in Pakistan, had a direct and indirect impact on political, socio-economic, environmental and security of the host countries. He emphasized that in overall world statistics, 40 percent protracted refugee situations is in Pakistan. But Pakistan, despite not being a signatory to 1951 and the 1967 conventions and protocols of the United Nations on Refugees, had never faltered on its commitment to helping refugees. He said despite facing financial crunch situation, Pakistan had accommodated all the phases of influx of refugees that had been come regularly since 1980. Shehryar Khan Afridi said: “This had been our cornerstone to accommodate all and sundry that are in need and who seek help. Over the period of 40 years, we had developed good practices that can be replicated by all actors in the ambit of humanitarianism.” The Minister said Pakistan despite its meager resources, had provided protection, food, shelter and other necessities with excellent camp management, and adhered to principles to highest standard of hospitality with providing all provision of necessities in health and education and livelihood. The Minister shared that Pakistan is the first country to develop biometrics identity; even five-year-old child has biometrics and full identity under POR arrangement.
The Minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team would give respect to Afghan refugees and would honor their traditions and culture. He said it was a pity that only developing countries were catering to the 85 percent of refugee hosting across the globe while Pakistan amidst its financial crisis situation was hosting Afghan refugees for the past 40 years. The Minister added that everyone had to contribute if we want global peace. In today’s world, governments are raising walls to stop immigrants; while Government of Pakistan is facilitating refugees since 1980.