Refugee crisis: Pakistan pleads for more humanitarian approach

UN told it is wrong to spread Islamophobia after the Paris attacks


APP November 22, 2015
Dr Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, speaks at the UN General Assembly on November 21, 2015. PHOTO: APP

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called for a clear, resolute and unified approach based on humanitarian principles to tackle the unprecedented refugee crisis in the Mediterranean basin, while deploring efforts to spread hate and Islamophobia after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Speaking in a General Assembly meeting devoted principally to Syrian asylum-seekers, Pakistan UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that some nations had blatantly declared they would not accept Muslim refugees, but compassion has no religion.

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She noted that fear is being fanned by some to accentuate discrimination, blunt humanitarianism, and spread hate and Islamophobia.

Denial of asylum to Muslim refugees by some countries was legally, politically and morally untenable, the Pakistani envoy said in a well-reasoned speech. “The moral compass of those who refuse refugees of any faith must be questioned.”

A series of interlocking crises and conflicts raging across the Middle East and Africa had been precipitated by misguided military interventions in the internal affairs of several states in the region, Ambassador Lodhi told the 193-mmber Assembly.

As history and current events attested, foreign intervention begets more chaos and violence breaking down established structures, destroying states and displacing people.

“The flow of humanity to European shores must be met with humanity,” she said, endorsing the generosity of states which had kept their borders and hearts open.

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To stem the tide of refugees to Europe, urgent aid was needed to care for the millions crowded in countries neighbouring the conflict zones. That also applied to the three million Afghan refugees still living in Pakistan, because 20% of refugees arriving in Europe were Afghans.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd,  2015.

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