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Afghan Solutions Strategy

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Solutions for Afghan refugees

The UN refugee agency and the government of Switzerland co-hosted an international conference from May 2-3 in Geneva on the Afghan displacement situation. The "International Conference on the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees to Support Voluntary Repatriation, Sustainable Reintegration and Assistance to Host Countries" discussed ways to help displaced Afghans inside and outside the country. Participants also discussed the reintegration of returnees in Afghanistan; capacity building; community based development; and preserving asylum space for refugees in neighbouring countries. The meeting looked beyond political and transition time lines, urging the international community to sustain multi-year humanitarian and development support.

Facilitated by UNHCR, the governments of Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan presented a new strategy at the Geneva conference. Participants were asked to support programmes inside Afghanistan that will increase the sustainability of returns. The new strategy also seeks the commitment of the international community to support countries that host Afghan refugees.

The Afghan displacement is one of the most complex and protracted refugee situations in the world, with 1.7 million registered Afghan refugees still in Pakistan and 1 million in Iran. Afghanistan and its neighbours need continuing international support to achieve lasting solutions. There have been successes: 5.7 million Afghans have returned home since 2001 through UNHCR's largest voluntary repatriation programme. These people account for a quarter of Afghanistan's people, but many are experiencing difficulties in rebuilding their lives.

The conference endorsed both the solutions strategy and the establishment of follow-up mechanisms for implementation through the adoption of a joint communiqué. As the refugee situation enters its fourth decade, there is a sense of asylum fatigue in the host countries. A strategy to sustain international solidarity and burden-sharing is critically required also in ensuring asylum space.

The strategy is available on this link: http://www.unhcr.org/afghanistan/solutions-strategy.pdf

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