Iran: Afghan returns top 20,000
Nearly 4,400 Afghans voluntarily returned from Iran to Afghanistan this week, bringing to 21,678 the number of returnees assisted by UNHCR under a repatriation programme organised jointly by UNHCR and the Iranian government. The repatriations began on 8 April. Refugees continue to register for voluntary repatriation at three operational centres in Tehran, Mashad and Zahedan and are subsequently driven in convoys to the Dogharun-Islam Qala border crossing.
Afghans who have valid reasons for not returning to Afghanistan can submit a claim for refugee status in one of the four centres jointly run by UNHCR and the Iranian Ministry for Immigration Affairs (BAFIA).
Since applications began on 19 April, 15,193 persons have submitted their cases. From the nearly 2,000 cases already processed, 50 percent have been accepted, 30 percent rejected and the remaining 20 percent are still pending.