Addressing an international conference marking four decades of hosting Afghan refugees by Pakistan on Monday, the UN chief said Iran and Pakistan are the two countries that are hosting the most number of Afghan refugees in the world, IRNA reported.
“We are here to serve Afghan people who deserve peace and stability”, said the UN top official.
He also underlined the need for renewed commitment to peace in Afghanistan for successful repatriation of Afghan refugees.
The two-day conference is jointly organized by Pakistan’s government and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and is being attended by ministers and senior officials from around 20 countries, who have been supporting the Afghan refugees across the world.
Addressing the conference, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that for the last 40 years, the people of Iran and Pakistan have stood by their Afghan neighbors.
He noted that Iran and Pakistan have been hosting 90 percent of the Afghan refugees and have absorbed Afghan refugees in their societies.
However, he said, generosity does not come without cost, but it has impacts on local economy, infrastructure, and security.
Hailing Iran’s measures, Grandi noted Iran has formed various schemes for better education and health of Afghan refugees which is highly commendable. He added that Iran has done all this with its own resources despite facing economic pressures.
The UN official underlined that international support for the Afghan refugees is insufficient, asking donors to lend support for development in the Asian country which has been struggling with four decades of war.
He also welcomed the constructive dialogue between the governments of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan in the framework of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees launched together with UNHCR in 2012.
The UN estimates that some 4.6 million Afghans, including 2.7 million registered refugees, still live outside of Afghanistan. Around 90 percent of them are being hosted by Pakistan (1.4 million) and Iran (one million).