UNHCR praises PH gov't for 'openness,' quick action to grant asylum to Aghanistan refugees


Posted at Aug 19 2021 08:44 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2021 09:26 PM

MANILA - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Philippines on Thursday praised the government for its "prompt" decision to grant asylum to refugees from Taliban-held Afghanistan as well as its commitment to their safety.

In a statement, the UN refugee agency said it is willing to work with the government, especially the Department of Justice's Refugees and Stateless Persons Protection Unit (DOJ-RSPPU) to process the applications of displaced Afghans. 

On Tuesday, Malacañang said the country is willing to receive asylum seekers from Afghanistan, just like how it did during World War 2 and the establishment of the communist regime in China. 

"The Philippine government, as it has done on numerous occasions in the past, has been quick to express its openness to receive asylum seekers from Afghanistan," the statement read. 

"UNHCR Philippines lauds this prompt action and initiative to welcome forcibly displaced Afghan nationals."

The international agency also expressed readiness to assist asylum seekers for their protection, through the government and other civil society organizations. 

It also thanked Filipinos who committed donations for their continued humanitarian work in Afghanistan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The show of support from both the Philippine government and the Filipino people is particularly generous and a true testament to our bayanihan spirit, which extends not only to our countrymen, but also to those seeking refuge from beyond our shores," said Maria Ermina Valdeavilla-Gallardo, UNHCR's head in the country. 

According to the agency, some 550,000 Afghans have already been internally displaced since January. The development will for sure push more Afghans to leave their hometowns to seek safety, UNCHR added. 

The Afghan capital fell to Taliban insurgents on Sunday, while the Afghan military and government disintegrated. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, triggering panic in Kabul, with thousands mobbing the airport in a desperate attempt to flee.

Governments from all around the globe are also scrambling to get their citizens and Afghans who worked with them out of the Middle Eastern country.


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