News

    South Asia Regional Stability Depends on Solutions for Afghan Refugees

    An Afghan refugee boy, Gul Zaman, who fled from Afghanistan with his family, peeps from his make-shift tent in the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan, March 13, 2012.
    An Afghan refugee boy, Gul Zaman, who fled from Afghanistan with his family, peeps from his make-shift tent in the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan, March 13, 2012.
    Lisa Schlein

    The United Nations says peace and stability will not be achieved in south Asia until durable solutions are found for millions of Afghan refugees. Delegates from more than 40 countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran are discussing the Afghan situation at a two-day conference in Geneva.

    Afghanistan has been producing refugees for more than 30 years, and the endless wars in that country continue to create new refugees and internally displaced people.

    The U.N. refugee agency, which is co-hosting a two-day conference in Geneva, calls this one of the most complex and protracted refugee situations in the world.

    The conference is seeking solutions for the three million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan and Iran, and 5.7 million Afghans who have returned to their country after many years in exile.

    U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres says displacement in Afghanistan and beyond its borders continues because of instability, drought and unfavorable conditions. He says the rate of return has declined during the past three years, from a high of more than one-quarter of a million refugees per year to about 70,000 last year.l

    “We are in an important period of transition in Afghanistan that is characterized by uncertainty," said Guterres. "Afghan refugees have shown that they “vote with their feet” when conditions for return are conducive, they have always wished to go home. Durable solutions for refugees and creating conditions for sustainable return and reintegration do not lie within the scope of humanitarian action alone. It requires political and economic developments.”  

    One year ago, the UNHCR along with the governments of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan began to map out a three-year strategy aimed at creating opportunities for sustainable solutions for Afghan refugees.

    Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi has served twice in Afghanistan as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, from July 1997 to October 1999 and immediately after 9/11, 2001 until January 2004.

    In his keynote address to the conference, he urged the international community to learn from the mistakes of the past and not to repeat them. Brahimi says time and again nations have pledged not to forget Afghanistan and to remain engaged, only to abandon the country, resulting in more conflict, more deaths, and more refugees.

    “Of course, interest for Afghanistan immediately jumped up sky-high after 9/11," said Brahimi. "9/11 is the direct consequence of the way in which the international community turned its back on Afghanistan after the Soviet Union withdrew from that country in 1989.  Are you going to turn your back again on Afghanistan?”  

    Brahimi says political negotiations must include all segments of Afghan society, including those Taliban who are ready to join the process. He says such negotiations should mobilize the support of all Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Pakistan and Iran.

    He says a political settlement would put an end to the fighting and create a better future for the millions of refugees and displaced people who, through no fault of their own, have been stripped of their homes and their rights.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora