(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –In his key-note address to the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) in Geneva today, Prime Minister Imran Khan warned of an imminent danger of refugee crisis in South Asia due to demographic changes engineered by India in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) following its illegal measures of 5 August 2019 as well as discrimination against Muslims codified in the recent Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens in Assam and planned elsewhere in India.
Expressing grave concerns on the growing marginalization of Muslims in India, he drew similarities between Indian measures aimed at depriving citizenship rights with the Rohingya crisis.
Citing old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’, the Prime Minister urged the United Nations and the international community to take urgent steps to prevent the imminent humanitarian crisis in IOJ&K as well as in India,which can not only lead to large scale displacement of population but also impact peace and security of South Asia and beyond.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the people of Pakistan for their warm and model hospitality to the Afghan refugees for 40 years, noting that this inspiration was drawn from Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), since he himself was a refugee.
While noting that the Afghan refugee situation represented the 2nd most protracted situation in the world, the Prime Minister stressed the need for their well-being and creating conditions in Afghanistan for their dignified return. He added that it was also in this spirit that Pakistan was making all out efforts to facilitate peaceful settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is the co-convener of the Forum along with leaders of Turkey, Costa Rica, Germany and Ethiopia. The UNHCR and Swiss Government are co-hosts of the Forum, taking place pursuant to the Global Compact on Refugees, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2018.
On the sidelines of the Forum, the Prime Minister interacted with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and inter alia informed him about the convening of international conference on Afghan refugees in Islamabad in February 2020 and invited him to visit Pakistan.