UNHCR urges Pakistan to sign Geneva Refugee Convention | Pakistan Today

UNHCR urges Pakistan to sign Geneva Refugee Convention

As the Geneva Refugee Convention marks its 60th anniversary, the UNHCR is encouraging countries such as a Pakistan to become signatories to the agreement.
Four-fifths of the world’s refugees live in developing countries, with Pakistan home to the world’s largest and oldest refugee population.
“For decades Pakistan has put into practice the principles that are at the heart of refugee protection – generosity, compassion, aiding the vulnerable,” said Mengesha Kebede, UNHCR Representative in Pakistan. “Signing the convention turns those principles in laws and would be an important element in the government’s strategy for managing Afghan refugees in Pakistan.”
Recent crises in Somalia, Libya and Côte d’Ivoire have added to refugee numbers.
As East Africa struggles to cope with the worst drought in 60 years, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti are hosting nearly 450,000 Somali refugees – and the numbers are growing daily. Tunisia and Egypt have received the bulk of the exodus from Libya amid the turbulence of the Arab spring.
Sixty years on, 148 states are parties to the convention and/or its 1967 Protocol. But there are still parts of the world – notably South and South-East Asia and the Middle East – where the majority of states have yet to ratify the convention.
In December, the UNHCR will convene a ministerial meeting of States Parties to the 1951 convention. States will be able to reaffirm their commitment to the convention as the key instrument of refugee protection and pledge concrete actions to resolve refugee and statelessness problems.
The UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was formally adopted on July 28, 1951 to resolve the refugee problem in Europe after World War II.
This global treaty provides a definition of who qualifies as a refugee – a person with a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion – and spells out the rights and obligations between host countries and refugees. As the legal foundation on which UNHCR’s work is based, it has enabled the agency to help millions of uprooted people to restart their lives in the last 60 years.

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