U.N. bodies to support services for Afghans in Pakistan

08:33, June 03, 2011      

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The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR and the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Thursday signed an agreement for enhanced collaboration to support mainstreaming services for Afghans in Pakistan in joint programs under One U.N. in Pakistan.

The collaboration between the two U.N. agencies, as set under the new partnership specifies that UNESCO will collaborate for the inclusion of rights and services for Afghans in Pakistan and the internally displaced people (IDPs) in areas of school education, literacy, non-formal education, special (inclusive) education, natural science, culture, communication and information, and other social service sectors in the agency's broad mandates.

At present, UNHCR is providing free elementary education to more than 74,000 Afghan students through 176 schools in 81 refugee villages. Under the signed initiative, the UNESCO will include Afghan children, youth, women and other vulnerable groups in the agency's programmes to achieve sustainable and long-lasting solutions to ensure their rights to have access to education, science, free flow of information, cultural activities and social services.

This new initiative among the U.N. agencies is in line with the government of Pakistan's new approach for better management and repatriation of Afghans who will remain to stay in Pakistan.

The exchange of letters of intent among various U.N. offices in Pakistan is a joint commitment to include Afghans in Pakistan in the vulnerable groups in school education, non-formal education, literacy, gender equality issues and other relevant social service programmes.

At the occasion of the exchange of the letters, the heads of the relevant U.N. agencies Kozue Kay Nagata, Representative UNESCO and Mengesha Kebede, Country Representative of UNHCR, agreed that the collaboration among the two agencies will contribute to building social equity, human development and promote social cohesion in the host Pakistani communities.

The UNHCR's entering into new cooperation with sister U.N. agencies aims at strengthening partnership in finding durable solutions for the protracted Afghan refugee situation in Pakistan. The UNHCR recently signed similar agreements with WHO and UNICEF in the sectors of heath and education.

Source: Xinhua
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