Italy supports Afghan refugees in Iran

December 7, 2021 - 17:38

TEHRAN – Italy has contributed €1.5 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to support Afghans residing in Iran.

“It is important to be able to help the most vulnerable people in their moment of need when they flee a country which they find no longer safe”, said Giuseppe Perrone, the Italian Ambassador in Tehran. “It is a tangible sign of the existing strong solidarity between Iran and Italy, in line with our deep historical bond.”

“At this critical moment when the needs and vulnerabilities of Afghans in Iran are increasing, UNHCR greatly appreciates Italy for their generous contribution to our humanitarian efforts, helping us provide essential life-saving assistance to asylum-seekers, especially in key locations along the borders,” Ivo Freijsen, the UNHCR Representative in Iran.

It is estimated that up to 300,000 Afghan asylum-seekers have fled to Iran this year alone in search of safety, while UNHCR has only been able to screen some 24,000 newly arrived Afghans for protection needs. The total number of Afghans who have entered the country is likely to be significantly higher, hence UNHCR’s effort to further prepare and gear up its operation to be able to assist those in need.

The Afghan displacement situation is the most protracted and third largest in the world. Even prior to the recent events in Afghanistan driving renewed displacement, Iran was already hosting some 3.5 million Afghans and providing them with education and health services. The situation in Afghanistan remains volatile and sustained international support for UNHCR’s programs will be needed in 2022 and beyond – both to ensure adequate emergency support for new arrivals and continue helping Afghan persons of concern who were already in Iran.

Italy’s support to Iran exemplifies the spirit of international responsibility-sharing and solidarity outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). This international agreement aims to ensure that refugee-hosting countries, like Iran, get the support they need from the international community, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation.

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