ISLAMABAD, June 21 (INP): UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency Thursday said that 25 people were forced to flee their homes every minute in 2018 as global displacement tops 70 million.
UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report shows that 70.8 million were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations in 2018.
“70.8 have been denied a home. This is not a number – these are human beings. They don’t need to be denied hope,” Ms. Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan said on the occasion of the World Refugee Day. She said in 2018, every second refugee was a child.
The World refugee Day is marked on 20 June every year as a tribute to the courage and resilience of the millions of people uprooted as a result of ongoing conflicts, war and natural disasters globally. This year’s theme is “Step with Refugees”.
UNHCR and the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) organised an event to show solidity with those forced to flee their homes. Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Shehryar Afridi was the chief guest at the occasion. The event was attended by government officials, heads of diplomatic missions and UN agencies, UN staff and a large number of refugees. Refugee children presented cultural songs and a role play depicting the lives of refugees and cultural songs. A photo exhibition was also organized.
The UNHCR Representative paid rich tribute to the resilience of refugees and the generosity of host communities that provides shelter and protection for refugees.
Ms. Menikdiwela said 84 per cent of the world’s refugees are living in developing countries despite their own economic challenges while 16 per cent of the refugees are being hosted by developed countries.
Pakistan is the second largest hosting country in the world by hosting 1.4 million Afghan refugees. The largest hosting country is Turkey, which hosts 3.7 million refugees.
Ms. Menikdiwela said that Pakistan has been generously hosting the Afghan refugees for four decades, therefore, this is high time for the international community to mobilize more support to support refugees and their host communities in Pakistan. “This country and its communities stepped up for those who have lost so much,” she added.
SAFRON Minister Mr. Shehryar Khan Afridi lauded the UNHCR representative and her team to help the cause of Afghan refugees. “It is a pity that only developing countries are hosting 85 percent of refugees while Pakistan amidst its financial crisis situation is hosting Afghan refugees for the past 40 years,” the minister said and added that over the period of 40 years, Pakistan has developed good practices that can be replicated by all actors in the ambit of humanitarianism.
In Peshawar, refugee children and their teachers undertook a study tour to the Peshawar Gandhara museum. The event was organized with the help of CDU and UNHCR’s partner, SHARP. The children enjoyed seeing the artefacts and explored the museum.
The World Refugee Day event was also observed in Quetta. Cricket matches involving Afghan refugees were also held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. These matches were part of the World Refugee Day activities.