United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees marks World Refugee Day in Quetta with renowned artist from Pakistan

Quetta, June 16, 2015 (PPI-OT): UNHCR Sub Office Quetta had organized the World Refugee Day event on 16th June 2015 to show solidarity with afghan refugees. The event assure the refugees that international community and host government supporting them for repatriating on their mother lands. Same day was also celebrated in Pakistan; events were also organized at different parts of Pakistan with the same passion; Majority of afghan refugees are settled in different parts of Pakistan particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

While addressing the ceremony UNHCR Head of Sub Office Quetta Mr. Fabio Varoli said that this year UNHCR in Balochistan has prominent representatives of cultural, arts and media industry believing with the conviction that the culture is a neutral and powerful mean to generate relations, solidarity and feelings among humans. Independently the origin, race and focused more on the needs of Cultural sensitization which begins with the understanding that Cultural, arts help to explain the world, worldview and often challenge current ideas, thoughts and practice.

The goal of the program is also to have interactive gathering with the musicians, artists from Balochistan who have made this province proud on national and on international level. The acts can get fused together naturally and spontaneously and the musicians can show their skills by creating an interesting and novel expression never heard before in this unique setting. Hence displaying cultural harmony and friendship.

He added,” I would like to express my gratitude and acknowledgement to the Mr. Jamal Shah and Mr. Hameed Sheikh, who from their busy schedule fulfilled their commitment to support UNHCR operation in Balochistan and passed a positive message that art and media industry stand with refugees and with UNHCR. We believe refugees are Ordinary people living through extraordinary times. Share their stories.”

He further added, “it is a time for the world community to share additional burden to help Pakistan to overcome the issue of 1.6 million refugees living in camps and Urban centres across the country,’’ he said. He commended the response of the government of Pakistan for hosting millions of refugees for over 30 years. Credit goes to Pakistan who, despite all difficulties and financial crunch, strove hard to provide the basic facilities to the millions of refugees accommodates in camps and urban areas in Pakistan, he said.

Mr. Varoli noted that UNHCR in collaboration with the Pakistan repatriated about 3.8 million Afghans to their native country. Currently 1.6 million refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Pakistan out of them; as many as 3, 27788 registered people are sheltered at camps and rural centres in Balochistan.

The uncertainty, poor law and order situation and lack of basic amenities of life available in Afghanistan have slowed down the UNHCR process of repatriation of refugees, he noted, adding UN has extended many request to the international community and humanitarian organization to work for the improvement of health, education, and others sectors in Afghanistan so that the safe return of Afghan refugees could be made out of their efforts in the connection.

The chief guest at the event, Mr. Jamal Shah said, “Displacement can never be a choice, the displaced seek refuge to protect their lives, honour and dignity. Traditionally speaking, we must look after the people who had no choice except living in our Protection. Thanks to UNHCR and the Government of Pakistan for extending their continued concerned support to refugees for more than three decades.”

It was further briefed to the participants of the event that under the UNHCR facilitated voluntary return programme, more than 3.8 million afghan refugees have returned home since 2002.The return programme is ongoing and all registered Afghans intending to return can approach one of our four voluntary Return centres (VRCS) IN Peshawar, Quetta, Timergara and Bannu.

Participants were also briefed about the importance of RAHA programme. Under the RAHA initiative, UNHCR and CAR in Balochistan has, so far, implemented 224 projects worth USD 20.3 million in nine districts.

The RAHA programme is a major component of the regional Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) endorsed by Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan and UNHCR in May 2012, which provides a predictable road map for solutions and the better management of Afghan refugees not only back in their country of origin but also in the countries of refuge.

Since its start in 2009 to date, some 3,500 RAHA projects have been implemented across Pakistan in the sectors of health, education, infrastructure, livelihoods, water and sanitation for the benefit of around five million individuals, four million of whom are Pakistani citizens.

For more information, contact:
Duniya Aslam Khan
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Quaid-e-Azam University Road, Diplomatic Enclave 2,
Sector G-4/2, Islamabad
Tel: +92-51-2829502-6
Cell: +92-300-5017939
Fax: +92-51-2279455
E-mail: khand@unhcr.org
Website: www.unhcr.org.pk