(MENAFN - Arab News) The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will organize an international conference on refugees in the Muslim world, the pan-islamic organization announced yesterday.
"The Muslim world hosts approximately 52 percent of people of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, comprising refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, returnees and stateless persons, the largest number in the world," a source at the Jeddah-based organization said.
"This figure does not include Palestinian refugees who fall within the specific mandate given by the United Nations General Assembly to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)," he pointed out.
The conference, organized in collaboration with the UNHCR at the Turkmenistani capital Ashgabat, will last for two days from May 10.
The main objectives of the conference will be to highlight the role of OIC host and donor member states in alleviating the protracted situation of large-scale refugee populations as well as the mandate and responsibility of UNHCR toward refugees.
Also, the conference will aim to promote awareness of the scope and nature of the refugee problem in OIC member states as well as the broader refugee situation globally, particularly encouraging the international community including OIC member states in promoting and creating conditions for sustainable voluntary repatriation and reintegration in their countries of origin.
According to UNHCR statistics, OIC states host approximately 17.76 million people of concern to the high commission as of the end of 2010. Iran and Pakistan alone were host to over 30 percent of the world's refugee population, before the large-scale repatriation movements to Afghanistan commenced.