UNHCR efforts to empower Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

UNHCR efforts to empower Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, June 17 (APP): UNHCR efforts to empower Afghan Refugees in Pakistan


Danish Charge'd Affaires Jakob Rogild  Jakobsen on Friday said empowering Afghan refugee youth in Pakistan  "through enhanced vocational training and livelihoods projects" was an important initiative to shore up the human capital of Afghan refugees.


He was talking to Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR Country Representative  who called on him to discuss the current situation of Afghan refugees  and internally displaced persons in Pakistan.


Empowering Afghan refugees would allow them to contribute to  the reconstruction and development processes upon return to  Afghanistan, he said according to a statement of the embassy here.


Denmark has allocated approximately USD three million towards   UNHCR programmes in Pakistan for 2016. Its contribution will  support the implementation of Solutions Strategy for Afghan  Refugees, UNHCR's activities towards voluntary repatriation  of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and efforts to empower refugee  youth in Pakistan through provision of vocational training  and technical skills.


The total of Danish funds for UNHCR Pakistan amounts to  a total of USD 13.2 million since 2013 to date. Ratwatte  highlighted that due to the generous support from Denmark  and other donors, UNHCR was able to implement a five-year  Health transition strategy (2014-2018) which has been developed  by UNHCR and has gradually been rolled out and aimed at  implementing the progressive disengagement of UNHCR from  the existing parallel system of Basic Health Unit (BHUs)  exiting in the Rural Villages (RVs).”


Pakistan continues to generously host over 1.5 million  Afghan refugee Proof of Registration (PoR) cardholders.  Children and youth constitute approximately 70 percent  of the total refugee population.


While Afghan refugees are dispersed across more than  70 countries, an overwhelming 95 per cent continue to be  hosted by Pakistan and Iran. Some 3.9 million Afghan refugees  have returned to Afghanistan since 2002, including more than  58,000 in 2015, said the statement.


While discussing the current status of refugees and the  voluntary repatriation process, Jakobsen appreciated UNHCR's  work and said that Denmark looked at the Afghan refugee crisis  from a regional perspective .


It focuses on sustainable solutions that would help  refugees and internally displaced persons secure access to  protection as close to their home as possible. Denmark is among  the biggest contributors to UNHCR’s regional program in South  West Asia.


Ratwatte said that UNHCR Pakistan supports youth empowerment  through a nexus of inter-linked interventions in the areas of  education, skills training and livelihood support.


He recalled that inclusive and equitable education and  promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all has been  agreed upon in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said the statement.