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ISLAMABAD: The Government of Japan has announced on Monday a contribution of US$3.7 million to support UNHCR’s programmes and activities for Afghan refugees and host communities in Pakistan, said a press release.

This three-year project will focus on education, livelihoods assistance and community structures in the provinces of Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, benefiting over 240,000 individuals.

The announcement was made at a ceremony in Islamabad.

On this occasion, the Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Matsuda Kuninori, and UNHCR Representative, Noriko Yoshida, signed an agreement. The Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees, Saleem Khan, was also present.

“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 of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Peace and stability are the precondition for achieving voluntary repatriation and sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan,” said Ambassador Matsuda.

Yoshida thanked the people and 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.”

The UNHCR representative further said that given the protracted Afghan refugee situation in Pakistan, Japan is supporting sustained investments easing the burden on host communities.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees said that Pakistan has been hosting Afghan refugees for over 40 years and 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,” commended Khan.

Japan is playing an important role in burden and responsibility sharing, as set out in the Global Compact for Refugees adopted at the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018.

The Government of Japan is one of UNHCR’s largest donors and supporters of many years.—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021