Pakistan host to largest refugee population

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

The UN announced today that Pakistan is host to the largest refugee population in the world – 1.9 million people (source: Dawn; note that refugees are distinct from internally displaced persons). The vast majority of these refugees are Afghans who have been displaced due to the relentless wars in Afghanistan that have now spanned over three decades. The global population of refugees is also very high, at 44 million people. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of refugees are NOT flooding Western countries, as the UN report takes pains to note:

The United Nations sought Monday to debunk what it called ‘worrying misperceptions’ about movements of displaced people saying that developing countries hosted 80 per cent of the world’s refugees.

The total number of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons, had not ceased to grow with the figure reaching nearly 44 million people in 2010, the UNHCR said in a report.

“In today’s world, there are worrying misperceptions about refugee movements and the international protection paradigm,” said Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“Fears about supposed floods of refugees in industralised countries are being vastly overblown or mistakenly conflated with issues of migration.

“Meanwhile it is poorer countries that are left having to pick up the burden.” The UNHCR’s annual report on refugee trends found that most of the world’s displaced were seeking sanctuary in developing countries, including those which are among the world’s poorest.

In other words, rich countries, chill. No one is flooding your societies, and no one is jumping over your borders. No, the biggest impact is being felt by those poor countries which you have exploited and bombed as you seek to advance your neo-colonial agenda.

To our fellow Pakistanis, we note this as another reminder of just exactly how the ISI and the military establishment as a whole has continued to sacrifice the people of Pakistan – and of course, most grievously, the people of Afghanistan – for the sake of advancing its own narrow institutional interests. And of course, by “narrow” we mean those most exceedingly narrow of interests: cold hard cash. It’s been almost amusing to see the Pakistani political machinery jump into gear in the aftermath of the OBL operation, to desperately try and ensure that the flow of US aid keeps coming uninterrupted, into the coffers of the Army and its friends, and of course eventually into the overseas bank accounts of high-ranking officers and government officials. Meanwhile, ordinary Afghans and Pakistanis continue to have terror rain down on them, with seemingly no end in sight.

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