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Afghan female doctor wins Nansen refugee award



(Last Updated On: October 1, 2021)

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced on Wednesday that a 29-year-old Afghan refugee doctor, serving local communities and refugees in Pakistan, has won this year’s regional Nansen Refugee Award in the Asian region.

UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award has been given to Dr Saleema Rehman in recognition of her outstanding service and commitment to Pakistanis and refugees in the country.

It also acknowledges her contributions as a refugee to Pakistan, particularly the unwavering dedication towards her patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The award highlights the powerful example that Dr Rehman has set for other Afghan refugee women and girls, the UNHCR said.

“Access to education is very important in our lives. Investing in the education of a woman is an investment in a whole next generation,” Dr Rehman said at a ceremony held in her honour at the Swiss Embassy in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Her father, Abdul, swore to himself that if the infant lived, he would make sure that he or she received an education and became a doctor, read UNHCR statement.

He stayed true to that promise and supported his daughter through years of schooling, despite facing criticism from his own community. Many among them frowned upon the idea of a girl having aspirations outside the home and marriage.

“In the early days, I was often the only girl on school benches,” recalls Saleema. “I remember how my community disapproved of my father’s decision to send a girl to school. That’s when I began to understand how important it was to make something of myself, set an example and dare young girls in my community to dream.”

Saleema fulfilled her own lifelong dream earlier this year when she opened a private clinic in Attock in order to serve refugee and local women who struggle to access affordable health care.

Ambassador of Switzerland Benedict de Cerjat and Charge d’Affaires of Norway Elin Kylvåg presented the award to Dr Rehman.

According to the UNHCR statement in 2020, the last year of Saleema’s training as a gynecologist, Holy Family Hospital was declared a COVID-19 response hospital, and she found herself on the frontlines of the pandemic, treating women with the virus who were giving birth. Many of her patients were refugees and locals who had contracted the virus because they relied on daily wage work outside the home and could not afford to isolate.

The Swiss ambassador described her as an inspirational young Afghan woman. “She is a bright example on how valuable it is for the international community to support countries hosting refugees with inclusive policies like Pakistan.”

Chief Commissioner for Afghan Refugees Saleem Khan welcomed the award for Dr Rehman and said “we feel proud of Dr Rehman. She’s a wonderful example of her community. Pakistan can take pride in producing such a fine doctor — countless young Afghans have benefited from Pakistan’s progressive policies”.

The UNHCR representative in Pakistan and other dignitaries representing a range of countries and organisations attended the ceremony.

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UN supports 24 addiction treatment centers in Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: March 31, 2023)

The United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, (UNODC) say it will support the rehabilitation program of drug addicts in Afghanistan, by covering 24 addicts’ treatment centers, state-run Bakhtar agency reported.

The UNODC will provide food, heating equipment, health materials, and medicine for these centers.

Currently, 3.5 million, which is about 10% of the total population of Afghanistan, are drug addicts, according to UNODC.

The UNODC will support these centers for at least six months.

The UNODC Office in Afghanistan, sharing reports says that the amount of land under poppy cultivation in Afghanistan in 2001 was about 8 thousand hectares, but after the US attack on Afghanistan, the upward trend of drug production in this country not only did not stop, but it gained speed and in 2017, the land under poppy cultivation increased to 224 thousand hectares.

With the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, poppy cultivation has been banned in this country, and those who disobey this order will be punished.

The Islamic Emirate put an end to the gathering of thousands of addicts from around Kabul mainly Pul-Sokhta, which for many years was the solitary life of addicts and the hot market for buying and dealing drugs in the capital, thousands of addicts were gathered from Kabul and other cities and sent to clinics.

In recent days, the security forces have stabilized poppy cultivation fields in different parts of the country, and thousands of acres of land where poppy was cultivated have been destroyed so far.

The Islamic Emirate is committed to eradicating addiction in the country and ending poppy cultivation, and it follows this commitment seriously.

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Mosques to be built at 100 km intervals along major highways across Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: March 31, 2023)

Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, deputy prime minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, said at a cabinet meeting this week that the ministry of public works has been tasked with drawing up a plan to build separate mosques for men and women across the country.

These mosques will be built at intervals of 100 kms along major highways across the country, he said.

He said the mosques will also be built at fuel stations on highways.

In addition, Akhund said the ministries of interior and defense and the general directorate of intelligence have been ordered to inspect the granting of licenses to people for weapons and armored vehicles.

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IEA will be balanced in its politics and relations with all countries: Muttaqi



(Last Updated On: March 31, 2023)

The foreign minister says the Islamic Emirate’s relations with all the neighboring countries and the region are going well, but the country’s relations with Western countries have some problems.

In an interview with an Arabic TV channel, Amir Khan Muttaqi said currently the embassies of neighboring countries and the region are open in Kabul, and the diplomats of the IEA are accepted in many countries.

“Currently, the embassies of neighboring countries and the region such as China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Russia are open in Kabul,” said Muttaqi.

“Also, India, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Qatar have diplomatic activities, and in addition, the diplomats of the Islamic Emirate are accepted and active in many of these countries. It should be said that Afghanistan has no problems in its relations with neighboring countries and the region, and we only have problems in relations with Western countries,” he added.

Muttaqi criticized America’s interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, which is against the Doha Agreement, but he emphasized that their meetings continue to help improve relations with the US and progress has been made.

“At the moment, we have relations with the United States, our meetings continue and various and important issues are discussed, and we have many good developments with them,” he said.

He meanwhile emphasized that IEA is in favor of good relations and positive interactions with the international community, but the world should not set preconditions for interaction with the Islamic Emirate.

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