EU to further cooperation with Iran on humanitarian issues
Commissioner Christos Stylianides is concluding his second visit this year to Iran. During his three-day stay, the Commissioner met with the national authorities, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of Interior and representatives from the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) and visited humanitarian projects across the country.
“The EU and Iran are equally concerned with the humanitarian situation in the region. I am pleased to see the outstanding and strategic efforts of Iran to provide quality assistance to Afghan refugees. Our funding contributes to these efforts and especially to supporting the education of Afghan children. During my visit, I also discussed the increased cooperation in the field of civil protection and disaster risk reduction that the EU and Iran agreed in April this year.” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian aid and Crisis Management.
During his visit, Commissioner Stylianides announced additional €6 million in humanitarian funding to help Afghan refugees in Iran, bringing the overall EU humanitarian support to €12.5 million in 2016. Importantly, he raised international awareness on the humanitarian challenges in the country and laid the foundations for further closer humanitarian cooperation with Iran.
On 16 April 2016, Commissioner Stylianides was in Tehran alongside other European Commissioners. On that occasion, the two sides discussed enhancing humanitarian coordination and humanitarian assistance delivery in respect of International Humanitarian Law in the crises affecting Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.
After decades of protracted displacement of Afghans, Iran is hosting more than 970 000 documented refugees and more than 2 million undocumented ones. The most vulnerable are the undocumented Afghans, who are often in need of water and sanitation facilities, livelihood support (including vocational training) and healthcare, while their children require assistance with integration into formal education.
Since 2002, the European Commission has been continuously providing humanitarian aid to refugees and asylum seekers in Iran. Between 2002 and 2015, the European Commission allocated €10.5 million to Afghan refugee programmes.
The EU also provided humanitarian help in the relief efforts after the 1997, 2002 and 2003 earthquakes. In April 2016, the EU and Iran also agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in support of better prevention, detection and response to natural disasters