The Japanese government announced on Monday a contribution of $3.7 million to support UN refugee agency’s programmes and activities for Afghan refugees and host communities in Pakistan.
The three-year project will focus on education, livelihood assistance and community structures in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, benefitting over 240,000 individuals.
Ambassador of Japan Matsuda Kuninori and Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Noriko Yoshida signed an agreement at a ceremony in Islamabad. Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees Saleem Khan was present on the occasion.
“Acquiring education and vocational skills is vital for the social inclusion of Afghan refugees. In this project, we will continue to provide financial support, which will greatly contribute to the stability and peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Peace and stability are the preconditions for achieving voluntary repatriation and sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan,” said the Japanese ambassador.
Ms Yoshida thanked the people and the government of Japan for their generosity towards refugees and host communities. “This funding will go a long way to empowering young refugees and Pakistanis through skills development and education,” she said.
The UNHCR representative further said that given the protracted Afghan refugee situation in Pakistan, Japan is supporting sustained investments for easing the burden on host communities.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief commissioner for Afghan refugees said that Pakistan had been hosting Afghan refugees for over 40 years. He called on the international community to step up their support for large refugee-hosting countries.
“Japan has always played its part in supporting humanitarian efforts in Pakistan,” Mr Saleem Khan said.