Since August, when the Taliban took power, Afghanistan’s economy has nearly collapsed under the group’s harsh rule. Now the country has become one of the world’s largest contributors to the increase in refugees – more than 84 million in total. Yet foreign relief agencies are trying to stop the exodus by providing direct aid to the Afghan people, with the United Nations offering an additional response. It is praising the surrounding countries for welcoming the fleeing Afghans.
In December, Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, visited Iran and expressed gratitude for being a generous host to Afghan refugees. In January, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, commended Pakistan for its campaign to provide identity cards to nearly 1.4 million Afghans in the country. Smart cards will enable them to access better services like education and banking.
“It’s important to have a supportive look” [Afghanistan’s] Neighbors and forward the assistance provided to them,” Mr Grandi said last month. “They continue to host millions, and increased support and rehabilitation places are in order during this difficult time.”
Across the world, gratitude has become essential for refugee agencies to host countries. More conflicts last longer and leave displaced people in limbo for longer. Over the past three decades, the average duration of forced displacement has tripled. From Uganda to Colombia, more countries – most of them low or middle-income ones – have had to learn to live with refugees.
In January, the UNHCR praised Jordan for issuing a record 62,000 work permits last year to Syrians in the country, which is home to more than a million refugees. The agency said the progress puts Jordan at the forefront of global efforts to provide refugees with access to good work.
Since 2018, when the United Nations General Assembly approved the Global Compact on Refugees, many countries have tried to share the burden of hosting refugees and improve migration routes. Progress has been slow, which worries experts predicting a rapid increase in refugees due to climate change in the coming decades.
Last September, Mr Grandi visited Turkey, home to more than 4 million refugees, and praised it for “providing significant opportunities to realize their potential”. Such seizures are now more common. Gratitude serves as a moral counterpoint to the struggles that drive people away from their homes. This could inspire more countries to adopt a sense of equal welcome.
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