UN refugee chief urges assistance for displaced Afghans amid humanitarian crisis – JURIST – News – JURIST

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UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi urged the international community on Sunday to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghans in and outside the country in light of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), at least 18 million and over 3.5 million Afghans needed urgent humanitarian assistance and were displaced from their homes due to conflict in the country, respectively. Grandi stated that greater degrees of instability and displacement in and outside Afghanistan may occur if public services collapse.

Grandi called on the international community to prevent Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis from deteriorating. He said:

I welcomed [the interim Afghan ministers’] commitments to provide security and enable humanitarian access throughout the country. They recognized the needs and thanked the UN for providing help to Afghans … [T]he international community needs to do more to provide humanitarian and development support to these refugees and their host communities, and to scale up the resettlement of Afghans already in those countries.

Grandi said that he and the interim Afghan ministers’ also discussed other issues, such as the importance of educating Afghan children and ensuring that Afghan women can return to work safely.

According to the UNHCR, the agency provided over 300,000 displaced individuals in Afghanistan with cash assistance and relief items this year. The UNHCR is also requesting donors to support millions of Afghan refugees hosted in Iran and Pakistan.

On October 23, 2023, UN experts warned that Afghanistan faced a “deteriorating human rights situation.” UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennet underscored an array of challenges afflicting Afghanistan, primarily attributable to the policies and actions undertaken by the Taliban as well as persisting humanitarian and economic crises in the region.

In addition, on December 1, 2023, Pakistan’s Supreme Court heard arguments on a petition to halt the country’s removal of Afghan refugees. The petition was signed by a group of human rights activists, lawyers and politicians in November following the government’s decision to deport undocumented Afghan migrants back to Afghanistan. On November 21, 2023, the UNHCR expressed concerns during a press briefing over Pakistan’s orders for undocumented foreigners to leave the country, saying that the directive has caused fear and panic within Afghan communities. The UNHCR representative in Pakistan, Philippa Candler, cited adverse consequences for Afghan nationals, including registered refugees and individuals with valid documents.

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