Den­mark sup­ports UNHCR ef­forts to em­power Afghan refugees in Pak­istan

Pakistan Observer - - NATIONAL -

ISLAMABAD —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 im­por-tant 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 proc-esses upon re­turn to Afghanistan, he said ac- cord­ing 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 fiveyear 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.

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