Tehran, Iran – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the generous contribution of EUR 1.5 million from the Government of Italy, in support of Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As UNHCR continues its efforts to provide protection and assistance to Afghan asylum-seekers who are fleeing their country, this particularly timely donation will help us to pre-position Core Relief Items such as tents, sleeping mats and kitchen sets, as well as hygiene kits, in the border areas of Iran with Afghanistan.
“At this critical moment when the needs and vulnerabilities of Afghans in Iran are increasing, UNHCR greatly appreciates Italy for their generous contribution to our humanitarian efforts, helping us provide essential life-saving assistance to asylum-seekers, especially in key locations along the borders,” said Mr. Ivo Freijsen, the UNHCR Representative in Iran.
It is estimated that up to 300,000 Afghan asylum-seekers have fled to Iran this year alone in search of safety, while UNHCR has only been able to screen some 24,000 newly arrived Afghans for protection needs. The total number of Afghans who have entered the country is likely to be significantly higher, hence UNHCR’s effort to further prepare and gear up its operation to be able to assist those in need.
“It is important to be able to help the most vulnerable people in their moment of need when they flee a country which they find no longer safe”, said H.E. Giuseppe Perrone, the Italian Ambassador in Tehran, Iran. “It is a tangible sign of the existing strong solidarity between Iran and Italy, in line with our deep historical bond.”
Italy’s support to Iran exemplifies the spirit of international responsibility-sharing and solidarity outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). This international agreement aims to ensure that refugee-hosting countries, like Iran, get the support they need from the international community, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation.
The Afghan displacement situation is the most protracted and third largest in the world. Even prior to the recent events in Afghanistan driving renewed displacement, Iran was already hosting some 3.5 million Afghans and providing them with education and health services. The situation in Afghanistan remains volatile and sustained international support for UNHCR’s programmes will be needed in 2022 and beyond – both to ensure adequate emergency support for new arrivals, and to continue helping Afghan persons of concern who were already in Iran.