|Iran calls on intl. community to fulfill obligations to refugees||
TEHRAN – Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar called on the international community on Saturday to fulfill its obligations and commitments towards refugees.
Iran has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees since 1979. The flood of refugee into Iran started after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979.
Mohammad-Najjar said that Afghanistan needs help to develop infrastructure so that the Afghan refugees would return home.
“It is more than three decades that Iran has been hosting refugees, and since the country is committed to Islamic and humanitarian principles, it has hosted the refugees in the best way,” Mohammad-Najjar said during a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in Geneva.
Mohammad-Najjar added the United Nations and the international community should engage more actively in helping Afghan refugees return home.
The Iranian interior minister also said, “The so-called advocates of human rights have created many of the problems faced by Afghanistan.”
Mohammad-Najjar arrived in Geneva on Thursday at the official invitation of Guterres. The minister elaborated on the measures and policies adopted by the Islamic Republic of Iran on refugees.
The United Nations official praised Iran for its humanitarian efforts to support refugees and also updated the Iranian official on the UN plans in this regard.
According to the website of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Iran hosts one of the largest and most long-staying refugee populations in the world, comprised of Afghans who have been in the country for more than 30 years.
As of July 2011, according to the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs, the total number of refugees registered with the authorities stood at some 1,061,500, including 1,019,700 Afghans and 41,800 Iraqis.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Iran also hosted hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who fled prosecution by the then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
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