MANHATTAN: Following a Government-led assault on Syria’s opposition-held areas, an estimated 140,000 people in the country’s south-west remain homeless and in need of help, the United Nation Refugee Agency (UNCHR) said Friday, calling for sustained access to displaced communities.
“A new scaling-up of assistance is needed and UNHCR continues to advocate for sustained access for humanitarian actors,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told reporters at the regular press briefing in Geneva, explaining that the UN and other partners have reached tens of thousands.
During the first six months of this year, amid continued fighting and new displacements, nearly 13,000 refugees from neighboring countries and another 750,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are estimated to have returned to Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Rural Damascus, Damascus, south-west and north-eastern Syria.
Mahecic pointed out that the UN’s has continued to enhance its humanitarian response for IDPs, returnees, and other crisis-affected communities.
“In anticipation and recognition of this dynamic, UNHCR ramped up its capacity inside Syria already in 2017 to support refugees and internally displaced people who return spontaneously,” he stated.
In recognition of Wednesday’s announcement of a joint Syrian-Russian initiative to set up a refugee centre in Syria to help those wishing to return home, UNHCR said that while it has not yet seen any details of the plan, it is ready to engage in discussions with both Governments and prepared to work with them towards finding solutions that meet international refugee and human rights standards.
“Refugees always have a right to return,” Mahecic said, adding that they should not be pressured, rushed or prematurely pushed into leaving the countries where they have found shelter.
“UNHCR stresses that any plan that aims to enable refugees to exercise this right must be aligned with international standards“ meaning that returns must be voluntary, they need to take place in safe and dignified conditions, and need to be sustainable,” he spelled out.
Into its eighth year, the Syrian conflict continues to exact a terrible toll on the country’s civilians. Over half of the population has been forced from their homes, and many have been displaced multiple times.
Sh Rashid fears financial indiscipline under Shehbaz as PAC Chairman
LAHORE: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad here on Saturday expressed apprehension that the appointment of Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif as Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) would lead the country to financial indiscipline and economic chaos.
Addressing a press conference at Pakistan Railways (PR) headquarters, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was a broad-minded person who had agreed that the Opposition may make Shehbaz as Chairman PAC. Casting doubt on the credibility of Shehbaz Sharif, he said, “No leader in the PML-N was dishonest if its president Shehbaz Sharif is honest”. Regarding the issue of production order of PML-N MNA Saad Rafique, he said that his (Rashid) production orders had not been produced for three years when he was in jail in a fake case of possessing a gun.
To a question, he said that Saad was the son of a great man and he (Rashid) respected his father, but, adding that Saad was crying for money which he had looted. The Minister said the country would be purged of all plunderers and looters by March 2019. He criticized the media for presenting thieves and looters like heroes and urged the media to show their real faces. He said the railways during the last regime, just made procurement and no improvement had been brought in it. He said the government was bound to pay Rs 6 billion daily in the form of debts. To a question, he said that he never used derogatory language against the daughter or wife of Nawaz Sharif. The Minister said that with the passage of time, positive impacts of the governments would be before the people.
Joint strategy to eradicate terrorism!
KABUL: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has stressed for a joint strategy to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the region.
Pakistani Foreign Minister was addressing a joint Presser along with his Chinese and Afghan counterparts after trilateral dialogue here today. Shah Mehmood Qureishi held that only through collective efforts we can wipe out terrorism and achieve the objectives of peace and development. Maintaining that we all want peace and stability in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister said Pakistan would benefit the most from the peace and stability of the neighboring country.
He said Pakistan will extend cooperation to bring all the Afghan groups to the table of negotiations. He, however, said it is up to the Afghans themselves as to how they want to achieve the goal of peace. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. He said he is visiting Kabul to bridge the trust deficit.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi addressing the Media personnel held that both Afghanistan and Pakistan were friends of China and his country would extend every possible cooperation to build trust and confidence between the two countries. He said his country will also assist in establishing connectivity projects including a rail line between Peshawar-Kabul and Kandahar. The Chinese foreign minister said the Afghan reconciliation process can be taken forward by bringing the Taliban to the table of negotiations.
Salahuddin Rabbani, the Afghan Foreign Minister, said Pakistan has an important role for peace in Afghanistan. He said peace in his country is vital for peace and security of the entire region. He said eradication of terrorism will pave the way for economic development and augmentation of employment opportunities.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul today and discussed improvement in bilateral relations and important issues of mutual and regional interest. Foreign Minister on the occasion said trilateral dialogue forum will help promote connectivity as well as regional peace and stability. He expressed the hope that a stable Afghanistan will lead to the well-being of the whole region. Foreign Minister Qureshi congratulated Afghan President on making best arrangements for holding of trilateral dialogue. President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani thanked Shah Mehmood Qureshi for participating in the trilateral dialogue and his assurance of cooperation.
NA committees to be formed soon: Qaiser
ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Friday said standing committees would be formed soon as he had already held meetings with both government and opposition members of the House in that regard.
He said it was not the first time that the formation of standing committees had been delayed. However, the committees were essential for legislation and parliamentary parties were finalizing their members for them, he said talking to a private news channel.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken budged from his principled stand and okayed appointment of opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif as Public Accounts Committee chairman for smooth running of the parliament.
The speaker said all the members of the National Assembly were competent, who had tabled bills on many issues in the House. With the committees in place, the House would move forward to do the legislative work, he added.
Asad Qaiser said after formation of standing committees, a special assembly session would be held. The parliament was the best forum for elected representatives to raise issues being faced by the people and get them resolved, he added.
He said he would run the House according to the law. There would be no discrimination against any member. “I respect all the assembly members, whether they belong to the treasury or opposition benches.”
The speaker said all the political parties should contribute towards making Pakistan a developed state. The country was facing many problems, including the economic crisis, and the joint efforts were needed to cope with them.