ISLAMABAD: 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.
Saleema Rehman says investing in the education of a woman is an investment in a whole next generation
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.
Ambassador of Switzerland Benedict de Cerjat and Charge d’Affaires of Norway Elin Kylvåg presented the award to Dr Rehman.
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.
Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2021