By the end of 2013, Pakistan continued to host the largest number of refugees in the world (1.6 million), nearly all from Afghanistan, according to a report released by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Islamabad at a ceremony marked in connection with World Refugee Day which is being celebrated on Friday.
Speaking at the World Refugee Day commemorative event in Islamabad, senior UNHCR official Ms Maya Ameratunga, lauded Pakistan’s role.
She said Pakistan has generously hosted the world’s largest refugee population for three decades, and it was essential to mobilise more support from the international community to sustain efforts such as the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (Raha) initiative, which is a way of thanking the hosts of these refugees.
The report titled, “War’s Human Cost: UNHCR Global Trends 2013”, shows that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people (IDPs) worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people.
The situation is similar for the Islamic Republic of Iran, which hosted 857,400 refugees by year-end, almost all Afghans.
At the same time voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan to Afghanistan has also been the largest in the world, with 3.8 million having been assisted by UNHCR to return home since 2002… see more