Envoy urges UN to assist Iran in supporting Afghan refugees

January 25, 2023 - 19:50

TEHRAN - The Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, has urged the United Nations to help Iran provide better support for Afghan refugees.

He called for the UN to benefit from all of Iran's capacities to help the people of Afghanistan and increase regional cooperation in solving the economic, social, and educational problems of Afghan people and refugees.

He made the remarks in a meeting on January 23 at the place of the embassy in Kabul with Ms. Roza Otunbayeva, the special representative for Afghanistan and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

During the meeting, the Iranian official emphasized the need for boosting cooperation between the United Nations and Iran, which hosts more than 5 million Afghan refugees.

For over four decades, Iran has been hosting one of the largest and most protracted refugee situations in the world and has provided asylum to refugees, mostly from Afghanistan.

The recent fast-paced turn of events in Afghanistan has the potential to create additional population movements; internally displacing families and potentially driving them to neighboring countries to seek refuge.

However, with the continued allocation of insufficient international aid, it is very difficult and almost impossible for the Islamic Republic to continue providing services to refugees and unauthorized foreign nationals, the Iranian delegation at the 73rd meeting of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner for Refugees, said in October.

Filippo Grandi, the High Commissioner for Refugees, while thanking Iran for its long-term measures in supporting Afghan refugees, stressed the need to increase international support for Iran and implement sustainable solutions, including the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons.

Services to refugees appreciable

Despite the sanctions and economic pressures, Iran continues its comprehensive policy of providing services to refugees, and this is appreciable, UNHCR’s Officer in Charge, Inna Gladkova, said in November 2022.

The best solution and the most stable support system for refugees is that have access to schools and education just like Iranian nationals, she stated, IRNA reported.

Iran has taken effective and continuous measures to include all refugees, and the UNHCR also declares its readiness to fulfill its obligations, she noted.

In the provision of educational services, there are different aspects, she said, adding, school construction, equipping schools, providing teachers and human resources, and providing quality educational services are the main and important work done by the Ministry of Education.

There are many needs in the field of education, but in the last 10 years, the High Commissioner for Refugees has built only 95 schools in Iran, but the need is definitely more than this, she also said.

In June 2022, Maha Kashour, head of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Mashhad, said Iran’s efforts and activities in the last 40 years have been commendable to refugees, and in the past year, after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, has reached its peak.

Iran has so far been able to provide decent services to refugees in the fields of health, livelihood, and vocational training in cooperation with UNHCR, she noted.

The Ministry of Interior has announced to the Ministry of Education a list of 200,000 Afghan children who have the conditions to study in Iranian schools.

In the current school year which began on September 23, about 300,000 new foreign students enrolled in Iranian schools.

For the time being, 560,000 foreign students are studying in schools across the country, Education Minister Yousef Nouri has said.


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