UNHCR’s priorities are to ensure the exercise of a free and informed choice and to mobilize support for returnees. Through the years, the voluntary nature of the decision to return has remained a hallmark of the repatriation programme for refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
UNHCR Iran continues to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Afghans and Iraqis to their respective countries of origin. All UNHCR Offices in the country, including the Voluntary Repatriation Centre in Soleimankhani (Tehran province) and Dogharoun Field unit (Khorasan Razavi province) facilitate Voluntary Repatriatin.
Upon returning to Afghanistan, the returnees from Iran are assisted at four Encashment Centres (ECs) located in Herat. These returnees receive a grant averaging USD 200 per person (based on their area of origin) to support their immediate humanitarian needs and transportation costs.
In addition to cash grants, a range of inter-agency services are provided for returnees, including basic health and malnutrition screening and vaccination (by the Ministry of Public Health supported by WHO and UNICEF) services, mine risk awareness raising (by the Danish Demining Group supported by UNMAS), provision of information on school enrolment (by the Ministry of Education supported by UNICEF), and overnight accommodation. UNHCR and the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation also conduct returnee monitoring and identify persons with specific needs and refer them to specialized service providers for assessment and assistance.
However, largely due to the continued instabilities in Afghanistan and Iraq, conditions are not completely conducive for return, therefore voluntary repatriation has been witnessing a steady decline over the years.
Number of Refugees Voluntarily Repatriated (2011 – present):