Australia ready to help improve refugee situation in Iran

October 27, 2021 - 17:30

TEHRAN – Australian Ambassador to Iran Lyndall Sachs has announced readiness to continue providing services to support refugees in Iran, ISNA reported.

Sachs made the remarks during a meeting with Mehdi Mahmoudi, Director of Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs, and Australia's Special Representative on Afghanistan, Daniel Sloper held on Tuesday.

Sloper, for his part, said that we try to solve the refugee problem as soon as possible, as well as providing financial assistance, and favorable living conditions so that they can achieve relative stability, especially for the women and children refugees.

He further expressed eagerness to expand cooperation with Iran in various fields of resolving the conflicts and problems of refugees.

Iran has generously hosted approximately 1 million refugees for the past 30 years. Mahmoudi stated that Iran has always been a major supporter of refugees and displaced persons, and the provision of services to asylum seekers for four consecutive decades is a testament to this.

Without any discrimination, Iran has provided various services to a large number of refugees and foreign immigrants in the fields of education, health, treatment, livelihood, vocational training, and employment, with minimal assistance from the international community, he emphasized.

He went on to note that Iran also played a vital role in the return of refugees to their countries voluntarily.

Addressing refugee issues is a serious and international responsibility that the Government of the Islamic Republic expects Australia to share in the burden of responsibility and support for refugees, he further stated.

Mahmoudi considered the resettlement of refugees in other countries as a strategic solution and added that “it is necessary for Australia to provide serious support in this regard.

Considering recent changes in Afghanistan governance, there is no ability and capacity for Iran to receive new refugees due to the oppressive U.S. sanctions.

Therefore, Australia and UN member states are expected to enter into this field seriously and to take the urgent action and provide the necessary funds to prevent the influx of Afghans to Iran.”

The world's fourth-largest refugee community

Iran is hosting the world's fourth-largest refugee community. The country has generously hosted approximately 1 million refugees for the past 30 years. The majority, which mainly came from Afghanistan and Iraq, live in urban areas. Approximately 31,000 of the most vulnerable refugees live in 20 settlements located throughout the country.

Based on the latest statistics, over 3 million Afghans are living in Iran - some 780,000 Afghan refugees, over 2 million undocumented Afghans, and another 600,000 Afghan passport-holders with Iranian visas.

However, in light of the pandemic, all refugees, even those undocumented, benefited from access to free primary health services and free COVID-19 related testing, treatment, and hospitalization, just like Iranian nationals.

The same happened for the vaccination when the country has generously considered refugees over the age of 75 for vaccination against coronavirus.

In order to support the refugees living in the country, the seventh phase of the health insurance plan will cover 120,000 vulnerable refugees through a memorandum of understanding signed between the Health Insurance Organization and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

In Iran, UNHCR is seeking $16.2 million for its COVID-19 emergency, while requires an additional $98.7 million to support Iran in maintaining and sustaining its commendable inclusive refugee policies, under the umbrella of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR).



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