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Iran/Afghanistan: repatriation centres now fully operational

Briefing notes

Iran/Afghanistan: repatriation centres now fully operational

23 May 2000

In the framework of the UNHCR repatriation joint programme, 1,900 Afghans were repatriated from Iran this morning. This brings the total number of Afghans who have returned since the beginning of the operation in April to 20,500.

All the three repatriation centres in Mashad, in Tehran and in Zahedan are now fully operational. Three times a week, convoys of returnees are leaving each of these centres for the Dogharum/Islam Qala border crossing point.

UNHCR does not facilitate the return of refugees who want to go back to areas designated as no-go zones on grounds of security and drought. However, an increasing number of people have been observed crossing on their own into Afghanistan. There are also Afghans who provide false information on their final destinations.

So far, 13,580 requests for refugee status have been submitted at the operational screening centres. On the 1,500 cases that have already been processed, half of them have been accepted, a quarter rejected and the rest are still pending.