The Government of Afghanistan launched today its National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons with the aim to set out a “comprehensive, effective and realistic” framework to address the issue of displacement in Afghanistan.
The policy, which was approved by the Afghan Cabinet last November, specifies the roles and responsibilities of Government ministries and agencies and their development and humanitarian partners, including in the United Nations, in addressing the problem of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“The main objective of the Policy is transition from unplanned and fragmented activities and individual distribution of humanitarian aid to a comprehensive and long term strategy for resolution of the issue of displacement,” said the Minister for Refugees and Repatriation, Dr. Jamaher Anwari, in his comments at a ceremony organized to launch the policy, in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the country, Mark Bowden, said internal displacement continued its upward trend in 2013 with a 22 per cent annual increase in the number of persons profiled by a UN-backed IDP taskforce.
In 2013 alone, said Mr. Bowden, 124,000 people were profiled as conflict-induced IDPs, which is a 25 per cent increase from the previous year.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation (MoRR) launched the new policy.
At today’s ceremony in Kabul, Minister Anwari said that if all Government institutions, international organizations, governors’ offices, provincial councils and authorities at the municipality level extend their full cooperation as “they have committed,” the issue of displacement would be resolved within the next few years.
In his comments, Mr. Bowden said that having the policy framework in place was “a major achievement and a fundamental step” towards improving the lives of more than 600,000 Afghan IDPs, who seeking a better future for them.
“It sends a very signal of commitment towards ending the displacement,” said Mr. Bowden.
He also assured the Government of Afghanistan of continued international support, including that of the UN, in implementing the new policy.
“Once the policy is disseminated and guidance is being provided by the Government to officials at all levels we need to deliver appropriate and specific programmes that respond to the need of the various IDP communities and groups on the ground,” said Mr. Bowden.
While welcoming the new policy, the UNHCR Country Representative, Pierre Francisco Maria Nata, said his agency has been engaged in the drafting of the policy and the consultative process since its early stages.
He said that the policy was “an important tool for addressing the very serious issue of displacement in a systematic manner.”
“This is a policy for Afghans made by Afghans but respecting international standards,” said Mr. Nata.