Pakistan to co-convene first forum on global refugees

Pakistan to co-convene first forum on global refugees
In this undated file photo, Afghan refugee children at a makeshift school in Sector I-12 settlement, Islamabad, Pakistan. (Photo courtesy: UNHCR)
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Updated 16 December 2019

Pakistan to co-convene first forum on global refugees

Pakistan to co-convene first forum on global refugees
  • Geneva meeting will be the first major initiative on the topic
  • Nearly 1.4mn Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will travel to Geneva to co-convene the first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) which begins on December 17, 2019, the PM’s Office said in a statement released on Monday.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Switzerland are co-hosting the event. 
PM Khan, along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and other leaders from Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Germany, were chosen. For the initiative in recognition of the exemplary roles played by them for the protection and well-being of refugees.
“The Global Refugee Forum – the first major meeting on refugees of the 21st century – will be jointly hosted by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the Government of Switzerland on 17-18 December 2019,” excerpts from the statement read.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also be speaking at the forum which is expected to galvanize political support and solidarity and broaden the base of commitments from states, international organizations, private sectors, and civil society to deal with the issue.
“The prime minister will articulate Pakistan’s perspective, experience, and contribution to the Afghan refugees. Co-convening of the GRF is recognition of Pakistan’s generosity, humanitarian leadership, and compassion of the people of Pakistan toward their Afghan brothers and sisters for the past 40 years,” the statement read.
During his stay in Geneva, PM Khan will also hold talks with his counterparts and the UN leadership, in addition to attending a luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary-General. 
Around 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan.
On June 28, Pakistan decided to extend the duration of their stay until June 30, 2020.
The UN refugee agency welcomed the government’s decision, commending Pakistan for being “an exemplary host” and vowing to support the government’s policies which promote voluntary repatriation.