TEHRAN: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency welcomed a delegation of ambassadors and diplomats from Austria, Bulgaria, France, and Switzerland to Kerman Province. The two-day visit done in coordination with the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) and the Governor General of Kerman enabled the donors to see the positive impact of their funding to support displaced Afghans.
The delegation visited Bardsir refugee settlement – located 72 km south-west of Kerman city and home to over 5,500 Afghan refugees. They visited a UNHCR-funded shelter project, which will provide refuge and safety to some of the most vulnerable refugee families in the settlement. During discussions, refugees had the opportunity to explain their needs and challenges they face, and also appreciated being able to remain in Iran while the situation in Afghanistan remains unstable.
The delegation also visited various other projects, both in the settlement and in urban settings, that their donations have contributed to. This included a health centre where refugees who are enrolled in public health Insurance scheme can receive free of charge secondary health care services as well as a livelihood project managed by an Afghan refugee woman, aimed at creating employment opportunities for refugee women.
“The international community’s unwavering support is critical to maintaining Iran’s progressive refugee policies on healthcare and education, particularly as it stands as one of the world’s largest refugee-hosting countries,” stated Inna Gladkova, UNHCR Representative a.i. “Our collective efforts must be directed towards meeting the growing needs of Afghan refugees, especially women and girls, to ensure they have the necessary conditions to rebuild their lives.” She added.
The contributions made by Austria, Bulgaria, France, and Switzerland to UNHCR in Iran have been a significant source of support at a time when other emerging crises around the world are diverting humanitarian resources from the Afghanistan situation.
UNHCR commends the government and people of Iran for their long-standing hospitality towards Afghan refugees, and acknowledge that, amid the economic downturn, more international support should be forthcoming so that no displaced person is left behind. Iran currently hosts around 4.5 million Afghans of varying documentation statuses, with 99 per cent living in urban areas side by side with the host community, and only one per cent in 20 refugee settlements in the country.
In Iran, UNHCR works in partnership with the Government of Iran, the diplomatic community, humanitarian and development partners, and other stakeholders to provide refugees, asylum seekers, and other people of concern with international protection, assistance, and durable solutions.
For more information contact
Duniya Aslam Khan, [email protected] +98 9912058010
Farha Bhoyroo, [email protected], +98 912 132 7183