Joint Press Release from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the Occasion of World Refugee Day

Today on World Refugee Day, the U.S. Embassy and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), held a joint reception to mark the 40th year of Afghan displacement, and urged the international community to increase efforts to create an environment conducive to the voluntary return of Afghan refugees and their sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan.

Speaking to the distinguished guests including Afghanistan’s Chief Executive, H.E. Abdullah Abdullah, and Sayed Hussain Alemi Balkhi, Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriation, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass remarked: “As the largest provider of humanitarian assistance to the Afghanistan response, the United States remains committed to supporting the voluntary, dignified return of Afghan refugees and the communities who host them.  We urge donors to contribute generously to alleviate the challenges caused by four decades of displacement.”

Welcoming the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan, including the decision to implement the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and reaffirming its commitment to include returnees and IDPs in national priorities, UNHCR’s Representative in Afghanistan, Ms. Caroline Van Buren, earlier today urged the international community to continue supporting the implementation of these initiatives. “As Afghanistan makes progressive policy reforms to support the inclusion of returnees, IDPs and host communities in national systems despite daunting security challenges, the international community cannot walk away from the Afghan refugee situation that has affected the people of this country for nearly four decades.  It is imperative that collective efforts, including in the area of development, are redoubled to support these initiatives with a view to enhancing absorption capacity and enabling sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan.”

The United States is the largest single country provider of humanitarian assistance worldwide and has provided more than $293 million to alleviate suffering of vulnerable Afghans since 2018, $52.7 million of which we contributed to UNHCR to support Afghan refugees, refugee returnees, and the communities that host them.