STATEMENT BY Amb Mohammad Naeemi
Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
at 3rd Committee Debate on agenda item 61: Report of UNHCR on Refugees
New York, 31 October 2019
Thank You Mr. Chairman,
At the outset, my delegation welcomes the recent report by the High Commissioner for Refugees and expresses its gratitude and appreciation for the work that the High Commissioner, and his team have done for refugees and displaced people in Afghanistan and around the world.
According to the report, there were 70.8 million people displaced globally as of June 2019, with Afghanistan remaining the second-largest refugee population of the world. We continue to see armed conflict and natural disasters as the main factors in driving the continuing increase of refugee numbers from our population.
In this regard, we see the creation of an environment conducive to the dignified voluntary repatriation as a fundamental right for those affected by displacement. To achieve this, the enhancement of collaboration and coordination between host countries and countries of origin is an imperative, both at the bilateral, as well as at the multilateral level, in forums such as this.
In close coordination with UNHCR, the Government of Afghanistan has identified and prioritized 15 areas to focus efforts, in order to better facilitate the safe return and sustainable reintegration of displaced Afghans. Within which, we aim to ensure the highest possible number of voluntary returnees and, in complementarity, work to create an environment conducive for their return, by guaranteeing access to basic requirements, such to clean water, electricity, and education, and through the implementation of capacity-building programs. Work in these areas is being carried out as a collective and coordinated effort by a wide range of ministries, under the supervision of the Cabinet of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
In 2019, the Government further developed a comprehensive migration policy that provides a roadmap for migration and asylum issues up until 2050. The development of this policy was financed by the European Union and designed with the technical assistance of the International Center for Migration Policy Development.
The Government of Afghanistan is committed to taking the necessary measures to ensure the dignified return of refugees and Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs). This includes significant steps for the inclusion of displaced persons and returnees at the national level, through policies focused on improving their livelihoods and providing them with opportunities to settle in their new lives. These entail land distribution and resettlement policies, as well as food and cash assistance programs. The Government also focuses on investing in the provinces with high numbers of returnees, to ensure a sustainable and efficient resettlement process.
As a result of our efforts, I am pleased to report that since 2002, 5.2 million Afghan refugees and 5 million undocumented migrants have returned home.
In conclusion, I would like to underscore that peace and stability are fundamental determinants for the return of refugees and IDPs. The only sustainable solution for this issue will result from a permanent settlement to the imposed armed conflict in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan on its part continues maximum efforts on restoring sustainable peace.
On April 29, the government of Afghanistan held a Peace Jirga with more than 3,200 delegates from across the country to determine the course of the peace process and create a unified position on peace.
We hope that through the cooperation of our regional partners and friends in the international community that we will be able to bring a lasting peace which will create a sustainable environment for those displaced by conflict and natural disasters to return to the country they call home.
I thank you.