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Japan pledges $2.7 mn to support Pakistani youth, Afghan refugees

ISLAMABAD: The government of Japan has pledged a contribution of USD 2.7 million to support refugees and host communities across Pakistan.

Japan’s ambassador to Pakistan Takashi Kurai and UNHCR’s Country Representative in Pakistan Ruvendrini Menikdiwela signed the agreement with Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees Saleem Khan in attendance, at a ceremony held here.

The Japanese Ambassador hoped that the grant aid would be fully utilised for the future of Afghan refugees and host communities, especially young generations and mitigate the burden of host communities, a statement by the Japan’s embassy said issued here.

He said Japan highly appreciated the efforts made by the Pakistani people in host communities who had been accommodating Afghan refugees for nearly four decades.

Ruvendrini Menikdiwela commended the people and government of Japan for the contribution and said it would allow UNHCR to continue supporting vulnerable Afghan refugees and youth of the Pakistani host communities.

“Such support will have a positive impact on the lives of Afghan refugees allowing them to have access to better healthcare services, livelihood opportunities, as well as legal support,” Menikdiwela said.

The contribution will support UNHCR’s interventions in the areas of health, livelihoods, as well as the provision of legal support to around 1.39 million registered Afghan refugees. The new funding will benefit some 475,000 refugees and youth in host communities in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab.

Part of Japan’s contribution will be invested in the health sector to improve access to healthcare services in Pakistan. This will support around 430,000 Afghan refugees with health issues.

The UNHCR’s aid and legal advice programme is implemented through partners in nine centres in the main refugee-hosting areas across Pakistan. The new funding will support 45,000 Afghan refugees and help continue the provision of free legal advice and legal aid, as well as court representation for refugees who have been detained.

In addition, Japan’s aid will be spent on bolstering refugee’s self-reliance. UNHCR will provide livelihoods support to Pakistani youth and Afghan refugee youth through vocational and technical skills training.

Pakistan continues to host 1.39 million Afghan refugees. Around 4.3 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan since 2002.

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