Tehran, Iran – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the generous contribution of USD 1.2 million from the Government of Japan, which will support protection and assistance of Afghans who have been residing in Iran for decades, and those who newly fled in 2021.
Iran has continued to provide Afghans, regardless of their documentation statuses, with access to basic services, however, the ongoing economic downturn is making it harder for the government to maintain its inclusive policies. In particular, the national health sector is overstretched. The funds from Japan will seek to strengthen Iran’s health system, so that all displaced persons can benefit from primary healthcare for free and health insurance to cover secondary and tertiary healthcare is provided to the most vulnerable refugees.
During a recent visit to the Saveh refugee settlement in Iran’s Markazi Province, home to some over 5,000 Afghan refugees, the Japanese Ambassador to Iran, H. E. Kazutoshi Aikawa, spoke to refugee representatives who shared their gratitude for Japan’s continued support, especially for the two schools and one health post in the settlement.
“This is my second visit to the refugee settlements in Iran after my visit one year ago to Torbat-e-Jam. It is my pleasure to visit Saveh settlement. Since 2021, we saw the situation in Afghanistan has enormously changed. However, our commitment to Afghan refugees remains unchanged.” Said H. E. Kazutoshi Aikawa, during his visit to Saveh settlement.
UNHCR’s Representative a.i. in Iran, Ms. Inna Gladkova, who accompanied the Japanese delegation during the field visit, applauded the visible positive impact of Japan’s support on refugees’ lives.
“Japan’s timely donation and steadfast support through the years is a great example of international responsibility-sharing,” she said. “As refugees and asylum-seekers become more vulnerable as a result of an unprecedented economic downturn impacting Iran, it is imperative that UNHCR receives more predictable support from donors, so that services can be maintained, and no refugee is left behind.”
As the situation in Afghanistan remains volatile, especially for women and girls, sustained international support for UNHCR’s programmes will become more and more crucial. UNHCR key activities in Iran for 2023 focus on refugee protection, access to quality education and healthcare services, cash assistance for the most vulnerable, the provision of core relief items, shelter rehabilitation, and livelihoods support for refugees.
The Government of Japan is also one of the members of the Core Group of the Support Platform of Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) – UNHCR’s strategic regional framework to support the search for solutions for Afghans in Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries of Iran and Pakistan.
For information, please contact:
Embassy of Japan in Iran, [email protected]