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Assistant High Commissioner for Protection on Iran mission

Briefing notes

Assistant High Commissioner for Protection on Iran mission

22 February 2008

UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Erika Feller, starts a five-day mission to Iran tomorrow (Saturday) as part of UNHCR's fresh look at trying to address specific long-running refugee situations around the world. The situation of Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan is part of this effort. There are some 920,000 Afghan refugees in Iran and around 2 million registered Afghans in Pakistan. Many have been living in their host countries for 20 years or so, and voluntary repatriation from both countries has declined over the last two years.

During her mission, Feller is scheduled to meet with senior government officials in Tehran and to visit field locations where she will meet with refugees to get a full appreciation of their situation. Most Afghan refugees in Iran are settled in cities, towns and villages, while about 25,000 live in six refugee camps managed by the Iranian authorities.

Iran is one of the world's largest refugee-hosting countries, along with Pakistan.