Interior Minister Attends UNHCR Meeting

Interior Minister Attends UNHCR MeetingInterior Minister Attends UNHCR Meeting

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli left Tehran for Geneva on Monday to attend a top-level meeting of the UN's refugee agency, IRNA quoted the head of the public relations department of the Interior Ministry as saying.   

According to Babak Dinparast, Rahmani Fazli is to give a speech to the meeting and hold talks with high-ranking Afghan and Pakistani officials in addition to a meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

Highlighting Iran's initiative, approved by other member states, to focus on Afghan refugees in this year's UNHCR meeting, Dinparast said refugees' formidable challenges and concerns will be discussed and practical solutions will be proposed to address their serious troubles.

Insisting on the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland, Iran stresses the importance of respecting and preserving the dignity of these people.

According to the opening remarks by Guterres at the 66th Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Program on Monday, there are more than 60 million refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons worldwide as a result of conflict and persecution, yet last year, 126,000 refugees were able to return to their countries.

  Funds Not Enough  

Appreciating UNHCR's donors, including governments, private citizens, corporations and foundations, which together provided a record 3.3 billion dollars last year, Guterres noted, "Humanitarian budgets are vastly insufficient to cover even the bare minimum, and we are starting to see what happens as a result of that."

Despite the voluntary return of hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees to their country over the past decade, Iran remains host to one of the world's largest and most protracted refugee populations.

The Iranian government plays an active role in the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees. This strategy promotes a holistic approach to enhancing prospects of sustainable returns and attaining a permanent solution for the protracted refugee situation.

The government is the primary contributor to Afghan refugee programs through its ministries. Additional support is provided through semi-governmental organizations and social charities.

The UNHCR meeting started on Monday and will end October 9.