Delegates from more than 40 countries have gathered in Geneva for a two-day international conference opening on Wednesday to seek solutions for more than 3 million Afghan refugees outside the country and to find ways to support 5.7 million returnees in Afghanistan.
The “International Conference on the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees to Support Voluntary Repatriation, Sustainable Reintegration and Assistance to Host Countries” is being co-sponsored by the UN refugee agency and the government of Switzerland.
High-level delegations from Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan are attending the conference. Some 3 million Afghan refugees are still living outside their country following decades of conflict and unrest in Afghanistan, with 1.7 million in Pakistan and 1 million in Iran.
The conference will discuss a solutions strategy and the establishment of follow-up mechanisms for implementation. 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 critical.
The Afghan displacement is one of the most complex and protracted refugee situations in the world. Afghanistan and its neighbours need continuing international support to achieve lasting solutions.