GENEVA, Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel says that 70 years after the signing of the Geneva Refugee Convention, many crises around the world continue to have disastrous effects, pushing millions of people to seek protection and hope for a better future.

In his address to the 69th session of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) here Monday, Messahel recalled that “in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, conflicts at stalemate are behind situations that challenge us, where victims expect strong commitments and actions for sustainable solutions.

Messahel stated that Algeria, as a traditional land of asylum, remained committed to its benevolent policy towards refugees and displaced persons present on its territory. The policy is based on a deep conviction that has been shaped throughout its history, he added.

“For more than four decades, the country has received tens of thousands of Sahrawi refugees and is responsible for most of their assistance and protection as refugees recognized by the United Nations,” the foreign minister recalled.

“Algeria receives refugees and displaced persons from other countries experiencing conflict and instability, including 40,000 Syrian nationals who chose to stay in Algeria following the crisis in that country, recalled Messahel, stressing that Algeria had created a mechanism, which is still in force, to facilitate access by refugees to education and health services and the labour market.

He also affirmed that Algeria supports efforts to resolve the conflicts in the Western Sahara and the Syrian crisis so that refugees can return to their homeland once stability and security prevail there.

Messahel called for a commitment by all parties to further protect the persecuted, refugees or displaced persons, because this is not an option, but an emergency.