WEB DESK: Pakistan has underscored the need for “greater attention” on conflict resolution and prevention as part of efforts to resolve the massive refugee crisis, while regretting the “slow and inadequate” international response to this tragedy. “These massive human movements are the consequence of conflicts, persecution as well as poverty and injustice,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi. Permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural questions.
Speaking in a debate on humanitarian questions, she brought into sharp focus the tremendous human suffering resulting from today’s huge forced displacement and called for a “humane” response. “The international community has ignored massive human suffering in the past and the current crisis could mark a new flag of shame,” Ambassador Lodhi warned.
The Pakistani envoy said the Third Committee must thoroughly review this humanitarian crisis, and make clear and actionable recommendations to the General Assembly to address this dire situation. With 60 million displaced people globally, 2015 would be remembered for the largest number of refugees and migrants losing their lives in pursuit of safety, Ambassador Lodhi said. “The journeys of escape for these people have often turned into journeys of death.”
She regretted that more than half of the total refugee population were children, who suffered from lack of proper nutrition and access to education. They were also exposed to heightened risks of child labour, sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation. While funding was urgent and critical to alleviate human suffering, the Pakistani envoy said efforts to find durable solutions to protracted situations must be intensified. For its part, she said Pakistan had hosted millions of Afghan refugees for more than three decades, but Islamabad’s capacity was not unlimited. She hoped adequate international support would be provided to resolve the most protracted refugee situation in the world.
The Pakistani envoy urged the international community to help the Afghan Government in creating the necessary conditions and pull factors for the permanent and safe return of refugees.