Statement by Ambassador OKANIWA Ken, High-Level Meeting on the Support Platform for the Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees (06/07/2020)
for Afghan Refugees (SSAR)
Remarks by Ambassador OKANIWA Ken,
Permanent Mission of Japan in Geneva
6 July 2020
Excellencies, Mr. High Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen,
Japan is committed to supporting the SSAR Support Platform. Realization of “burden-and responsibility-sharing”—a key principle of the GCR—is essential in dealing with the protracted Afghan refugee situation. In the same vein, we must broaden support of the international community for the SSAR’s objectives.
Japan has consistently been engaged in assistance for the Afghan situation for 40 years. To date, we have provided a total of $566 million in assistance in a comprehensive set of sectors through UNHCR for Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, including our recent contribution of approximately $6.3 million for COVID-19 response.
Today, I would like to reflect on the legacies of two well-known Japanese citizens. First is Madam Sadako Ogata, who made a long-term commitment to the Afghan situation both during and after her tenure as UN High Commissioner for Refugees. She initiated “the Ogata Initiative” to provide comprehensive humanitarian and development assistance for Afghanistan, which became the basis for Japan’s nexus approach. Second is Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, whose unshakable devotion to helping the Afghan people transformed their lives. His actions were solidly aligned with the concept of human security. Upholding their visions, Japan will continue to provide support to the Afghan refugee situation.
Japan commends Iran and Pakistan for generously hosting more than 2.4 million Afghan refugees for a prolonged period. At the launch of the support platform last December, we met young Afghan refugee women who had received higher education in Iran and Pakistan. They reminded us of the importance of access to education, in particular for the young Afghan refugees who are expected to engage in the reconstruction and development of their own country. Japan also appreciates the efforts by Iran and Pakistan to include Afghan refugees in their national response plan for COVID-19. The pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of supporting host countries to strengthen their national health care systems.
Finally, Japan is pleased to announce its intention to join the Core Group. We will continue to work closely with Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, UNHCR and other stakeholders towards achieving of the SSAR’s objectives.