International Development written question – answered on 7th November 2001.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Hilton Dawson Mr Hilton Dawson Labour, Lancaster and Wyre

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the Governments of other countries bordering Afghanistan on the need to reopen their borders to Afghan refugees.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

We are working closely with the UN and other donors to persuade all of Afghanistan's neighbours to open their borders. We continue to urge all neighbouring countries to adopt an open border policy and to allow those seeking refuge safe passage.

We should not underestimate the burden that refugees have placed on these countries. Pakistan and Iran in particular have provided generously for millions of refugees for many years. However, these neighbouring countries have the assurance that donors will provide generously for the care of these refugees. The UK has so far contributed £3 million to UNHCR for its work in the region—a combination of financial and practical support, including specialist personnel and shelter material. We are also supporting the work of a number of NGOs in neighbouring countries.

In addition, we have set aside £11 million for immediate short-term support to the poorer communities of Pakistan, especially those most directly affected by the influx of refugees from Afghanistan. On 18 October, I announced a further £15 million package to support the Government of Pakistan in its continuing reforms and in its efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis for Afghans.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.