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Sanctions have disrupted transfer of funds for refugees in Iran: UNHCR representative
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_02_ep3(137).jpgTEHRAN – The transfer of funds for refugees living in Iran has been disrupted by the sanctions imposed on the country, Bernard Doyle, the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Iran, said in Tehran on Monday.

 
“The main difficulty is that we have problems with the banking system to transfer funds from our headquarters in Geneva to Iran,” Mr. Doyle said during a joint press conference with Mr. Aziz Kazemi, the director general of the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) of the Iranian Interior Ministry held to commemorate World Refugee Day, which is observed on June 20. 
 
This year, the UNHCR commemorated the occasion one month in advance. 
 
In his remarks, Mr. Doyle said that despite the difficulties that Iran is facing, the quality of the services that it provides to refugees has not changed.  
 
He went on to say that Iranian officials and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres have always emphasized that the “refugee issue is a humanitarian issue and is completely separate from any political issue.” 
 
Despite the current problems, the volume of assistance from the international community has increased a little bit, he added. 
 
Asked about the UNHCR’s plans to increase the number of donors who support refugees in Iran, Mr. Doyle said, “We are constantly encouraging new donors and also the usual donors to increase the amount of” the funds they provide. 
 
“We have some very outstanding donors like Japan, but I’m very happy to also say that even countries as far away as Brazil have also contributed to the program,” he noted. 
 
During the press conference, the UNHCR’s representative also stated, “The main tragedy of refugees is not in Iran. Actually, it is in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq because these are the countries from which refugees have come, and these are the countries that still have problems.” 
 
He said that the problem of refugees can ultimately be resolved if the international community helps to solve the problems that these countries are experiencing. 
 
Mr. Kazemi said that Iran, which hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world, has taken many measures to support refugees, including organizing and attending various conferences to support refugees, such as the second Quadripartite Steering Committee meeting in Abu Dhabi on January 23 and the 18th Tripartite Commission Meeting for the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees, which was held in Tehran from January 15 to 16. 
 
Asked about the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees, he said that 14,000 to 15,000 Afghan refugees leave the country voluntarily every year. 
 
According to the UNHCR website, 15,006 Afghan refugees voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan from Iran in 2012.
 
On the total number of Afghan refugees registered with the authorities in Iran, Mr. Kazemi said that about 1.3 million Afghan nationals had registered with the government. 
 
In reply to a question about the problems that the children of refugees are facing when trying to enroll in schools, he stated that those refugees who have registration cards have no problem with school enrollment. 
 
According to its website, the UNHCR commemorated World Refugee Day in Tehran with a variety of programs, including speeches by government officials, theater, story-telling, and singing performances by refugees.
 
The theme for this year was “The impact of war on family” with the key message of “1 family torn apart from war is too many.”  
 
The participants of the event in Tehran visited information stands of the exhibition “Services rendered to refugees by the Islamic Republic of Iran”, which was organized by the governmental and non-governmental partners of the UNHCR and BAFIA, and a photo exhibition with the theme of “One Family Torn Apart by War is Too Many”. 
 
The photos depicted the “1” most important thing refugees would take with them if war broke out and they had 5 minutes to flee.
 
EP/HG

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Last Updated on 11 June 2013 16:28