TEHRAN – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, marked World Refugee Day on Wednesday with a series of events across the Islamic Republic of Iran, under the theme “Whoever, where and when, everyone has the right to seek security”.
For the first time in two years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNHCR and the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) of the Ministry of Interior have brought together refugees, host communities , government officials, members of the diplomatic community and humanitarian and development partners to celebrate the courage, talent and resilience of millions of exiled Afghans in the country.
At an event in Tehran, UNHCR Officer-in-Charge Inna Gladkova appreciated Iran for generously hosting Afghans for more than four decades and stressed the need to mobilize even more international support for the Iran, at a time when wars and conflicts are causing the highest levels. of forced displacement never recorded in history.
UNHCR’s officer in charge, Inna Gladkova, appreciated Iran for generously hosting Afghans for more than four decades and stressed the need to mobilize even more international support for the country. Rezadoust, the director general of BAFIA, Pirkoohi, director general of the Department of International Affairs, Environment and Sustainable Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other government officials were also present.
Other events in the provinces of Khorasan Razavi, Fars, Isfahan and Kerman included colorful refugee-focused events, photo exhibitions, theater performances, refugee craft bazaars and drawing competitions.
As one of the world’s leading refugee-hosting countries, Iran has shown incredible generosity to refugees by providing them with access to health, education and livelihood opportunities. sustenance – essential elements for becoming independent and self-sufficient. Despite growing economic challenges, the Iranian government continued to invest in essential services for refugees and maintained its inclusive policies.
UNHCR welcomes the ongoing counting exercise by the Iranian government to register all undocumented Afghans and asylum seekers newly arrived in the country. This is a positive step to provide international protection, including documentation, to all who may need it. A strong asylum system, able to provide accurate data on people of concern, will also allow for increased international support for Iran.
A photography exhibition showcasing Iran’s long history of hosting refugees, from the 16th century with the Armenians until today, was one of the main features of the event. A refugee handicraft bazaar also attracted large numbers of people to enjoy Afghan crafts, cuisine and music at the famous Milad Tower.
Refugees in Iran
As the first destination for Afghan refugees, only Iran, more than any other European or Western country in times of crisis, has opened its arms to welcome asylum seekers from its eastern neighbour.
The number of Afghan immigrants living in Iran has exceeded four million. After entering Iran, Afghan immigrants were most present in the provinces of Khorasan Razavi, South Khorasan and Sistan-Balochistan.
President Ebrahim Raisi said that despite the fact that the Europeans have made many statements about supporting the Afghans, but have not provided them with any aid, contrary to their words, today more than four million Afghans are the hosts of the Islamic Republic.
In light of the pandemic, all refugees, even undocumented ones, have been provided with free access to primary health services and free COVID-19 related testing, treatment and hospitalization, just like nationals Iranians.
The same happened for vaccination when the country generously considered refugees for vaccination against the coronavirus.
António Guterres, the UN Secretary General, hailed the generosity of Iran which – for decades – has taken in millions of needy Afghans.
I will never forget the generosity of countries like Pakistan and Iran, which – for decades – have taken in millions of needy Afghans,” António Guterres said in a January 26 statement to the Security Council. on Afghanistan.