UK supports refugee programs in Iran

December 25, 2021 - 19:0

TEHRAN – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has said it welcomes the United Kingdom’s donation of GBP 2 million (equivalent to some $2.7 million) to protect and assist Afghans fleeing to Iran seeking safety.

The United Kingdom’s contribution will go towards procuring basic food items and tents, blankets, and jerrycans, to be distributed to new arrivals, allowing them to meet their basic needs in dignity.

“As the situation in Afghanistan remains volatile and while Afghans continuing to cross into Iran to seek asylum, UNHCR is maintaining a heightened state of preparedness. The United Kingdom’s contribution will be crucial in pre-positioning life-saving items in border areas, ensuring newly arriving asylum-seekers get emergency assistance,” said Ivo Freijsen, the UNHCR Representative in Iran.

“We are pleased to help Iran support the large numbers of Afghan refugees who are choosing to leave Afghanistan. This contribution enables the dispatch of essential supplies to the Iran-Afghan border to support these refugees. The UK stands with the people of Afghanistan and regional partners in pursuit of a stable, peaceful future for the country” said Simon Shercliff, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Iran.

According to preliminary estimates by the Government of Iran, up to 500,000 Afghans have fled to Iran this year, with UNHCR having so far been able to speak to some 2,000 heads of households who told us they desperately need shelter and food assistance.

This contribution demonstrates the United Kingdom’s efforts to fulfill the spirit of responsibility-sharing, international cooperation, and solidarity outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and spearheaded by the Core Group for the Support Platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), of which the UK is a prominent member. This international agreement aims to ensure that refugee-hosting countries get the support they need from the international community, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation.

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.

Previously, it was announced that Italy and Finland each contributed €1.5 million to the UNHCR to support Afghans residing in Iran.


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