30 years of collaboration: A peek into a refugee’s life

Over 40 pictures detailing relief efforts and the state of refugees have been put up at Pakistan Council of the Arts. PHOTOS: MUHAMMAD JAVAID

ISLAMABAD: 

A photo exhibition, cataloguing more than 30 years of collaboration between UNCHR and Ministry of SAFRON in assisting Afghani refugees and internally displaced persons, opened at Pakistan National Council of the Arts on Thursday.

Federal Minister for SAFRON, Engineer Shaukatullah said in his opening address, “We recognize UNHCR’s proactive support to help Pakistan take responsibility for the uprooted populations, particularly the Afghan refugees.”

The exhibit is part of the 60th anniversary commemorations of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The six-day exhibition features more than 40 photos illustration the various phases and characteristics of UNHCR’s work in Pakistan. It also depicts the hardships and sufferings of the affected people.

The imploring eyes of the displaced and the eerie battlefield lined with refugee camps plunge the viewer into the story of those photographed. The exhibition also documents Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir in 2005, as well as Jolie’s recent visit following the 2010 floods.

Mengesha Kebede, UNHCR’s Country Representative, “Pakistan’s hosting of so many refugees and its respect for the principle of voluntary return has been in line with the  international refugee law but it has yet not signed the [1951 Refugee Convention] or its 1967 Protocol. It is high time Pakistan addressed this anomaly.”

The exhibition will remain open to the public until July 5 from 9am to 5pm throughout the week, except Monday.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.

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