UNHCR Urges Neighbors To Keep Borders Open For Potential Refugees

UNHCR Urges Neighbors To Keep Borders Open For Potential Refugees

New Delhi: With the political turmoil in Afghanistan turning out to be precarious, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said neighbour must accept refugees as tens of thousands of Afghans are trying to flee the Taliban.

“At this stage, our primary concern is that Afghans who are seeking safety can reach it, including across borders and into neighbouring countries if needed. UNHCR is calling on countries neighbouring Afghanistan to keep their borders open in light of the intensifying crisis in Afghanistan,” Catherine Stubberfield, UNHCR’s regional spokesperson for Asia and the Pacific, said, according to news agency Sputnik.

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She stressed the need for the international community to step up support for Afghanistan and its neighbours as a result of the influx of Afghan refugees.

The comments have come amid countries, including India, the US and the UK, offering help to evacuate Afghans. Around 3.5 million people have been internally displaced in Afghanistan, including over 550,000 displaced since January 2021, according to the UN agency.

Stubberfield said that the UN agency welcomes the expressions of solidarity made by several countries to either evacuate or resettle Afghans in need of protection but such efforts are unfortunately only able to benefit a tiny proportion of the millions of Afghans already displaced and in need across the country.

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Even as initiatives are on to help citizens, it should not impede Afghan asylum seekers from going to other countries directly, or replace the essential aid within Afghanistan itself, Stubberfield said.

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