Pakistan praises UN migration agency’s work in war-torn Afghanistan

GENEVA, Dec 01 (APP):Pakistan has commended IOM, the UN migration agency dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration, for its operations in conflict- affected Afghanistan, saying it has helped prevent large-scale displacement crisis.

At the same time, Khalil Hashmi, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN offices in Geneva, said, “a mass exodus of migrants and refugees remains a real possibility and preventing it requires sustained international engagement, humanitarian and economic assistance.”

He was speaking in IOM’s Council session, held as the 173-member, Geneva-based organization marks its 70th Anniversary.

“We hope the IOM and its member states drive the contemporary migration agenda that promotes equity, sustainable development and deals with both drivers and manifestations of migration in all its dimensions,” the Pakistan envoy said in the Council’s general debate.

The Covid vaccine divide, he said, highlighted the prevailing inequality and vulnerability, with 250 million job losses and the worsening impacts of climate change.

“These impacts disproportionally affect developing countries with large migrant populations abroad or those hosting large number of migrants, given the reduced fiscal space, growing debt burdens and restricted access to vaccines.” Ambassador Hashmi said.

“Unless these accentuating factors are addressed systemically through a range of policy measures within the global development policy space, the goals of safe and orderly migration will remain elusive.”

Pakistan, he said, shared concerns over the growing level of xenophobia, racism and stigmatization of migrants.

The Pakistani envoy urged IOM to enhance its advocacy and efforts towards scaling up legal pathways for migration, achieving the SDG (sustainable developments goals) target 10 — reducing the transaction cost of remittances to less than 3 percent by 2030 and for vaccine equity.

Pakistan, he said, had facilitated its diaspora abroad and irregular migrants in the country amidst the COVID pandemic.

Irrespective of legal status or number of migrants and despite economic constraints, Pakistan afforded to refugees and migrants social mobility, employment opportunities and access to health and education.

“We have and continue to facilitate evacuations and extend logistical support to several states and international organizations including IOM following developments in Afghanistan since August this year,” he added.