In a meeting of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) Core Group, chaired by the European Union (EU) today, its members affirmed their commitment to scale-up international humanitarian assistance for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Afghanistan in 2021, and for refugees and host communities in neighbouring countries.
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Due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, the Core Group reoriented its immediate focus to coordinate its collective support for the escalating humanitarian needs of 3.5 million Afghans internally displaced due to conflict, as well as the long-standing response and preparedness efforts in neighbouring countries in the region.
The Core Group is deeply concerned by the dire situation that Afghans currently face and is committed to deliver a lifeline of support to alleviate suffering and save lives. The acute humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was gravely exacerbated in 2021 by continued internal conflict and ensuing instability. Among the 3.5 million people internally displaced, over 600.000 were displaced in 2021. Eighty percent are women and children. Furthermore, some 18 million people -- nearly half of the country -- depend upon the most basic support to live, with high levels of food insecurity. Many displaced families face the prospect of returning to destroyed homes and villages with a harsh winter just ahead, and amid difficult economic challenges.
The Core Group's members have individually provided support to the Afghan people through bilateral and other programmes, including focussed support for returnees, refugees, and IDPs. Since August 2021, members of the Core Group have significantly contributed to meet the humanitarian needs in Afghanistan, as well as for the neighbouring countries that are hosting and providing protection to Afghan refugees.
The Core Group expresses its continued solidarity with major refugee host countries in the region and reiterates its commitment to sustained support for host communities that have generously supported Afghan refugees for decades, particularly in Iran and Pakistan. The Core Group recognises and supports the wishes of hosting countries to find lasting and safe solutions for Afghan refugees. It also calls on them, at this difficult time, to also maintain their longstanding commitment to providing protection to Afghan refugees, including new arrivals. It reiterates its support for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency's, advisory to refrain from returns of Afghans at this time. The Core Group remains committed to staying the course and providing political, financial, and technical support towards achieving concrete and tangible solutions for refugees in the future.
The SSAR Core Group was established to channel political, financial and technical support towards supporting solutions for the protracted Afghan refugee situation. Both Iran and Pakistan have hosted millions of Afghan refugees for over four decades.
The SSAR Core Group's membership includes the Kingdom of Denmark, the European Union, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, State of Qatar, the Swiss Confederation, Republic of Turkey, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, as well as development partners the Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, World Bank.
The SSAR Core Group is linked to a larger initiative called the Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR). The Support Platform, created in 2019, is intended to help Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan in coordinating their efforts on promoting solutions for Afghan refugees, and to implement the Solutions Strategy adopted by the three countries, with the endorsement of the international community and UNHCR's support, in 2012.
A Support Platform is a mechanism envisioned by the Global Compact on Refugees, which was affirmed by the UN General Assembly in 2018. This landmark Global Compact is itself a framework for building global solidarity on refugee solutions and promoting equitable responsibility-sharing for refugees globally.
For more information, please visit the website of the Support Platform for Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees: https://ssar-platform.org/