Refugee Commended

Refugee CommendedRefugee Commended

Iran's performance in accommodating refugees is of high standing vis-à-vis other Asia-Pacific countries, said Daisy Dell, Director of the Asia-Pacific bureau of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

"Iran is doing an excellent job with regard to refugees and their affairs compared to other nations in the Asia-Pacific region," IRNA quoted her as saying at a press conference in Shiraz, Fars Province, after she visited a number of facilities allocated to migrants in the area.

She said despite the government's efforts in accommodating refugees, they still have numerous needs to be met. "We are prepared to cooperate with Iran to improve their plight and meet refugee demands." Lack of easy access to medical care and health services is a major problem for legal refugees as they are not under insurance coverage of the Social Security Organization, and incur hefty medical expenses.

Based on negotiations with the Islamic Republic, it is planned to provide legal migrants with state insurance coverage in cooperation with the ministry of health and the ministry of labor, cooperatives, and social welfare, she said.

Iran has hosted Afghan refugees for over 30 years now, Dell noted, and underlined the difficulty of reaching out to the international community to address the problems of foreign asylum-seekers as their residence in the host country is a long-drawn process, but "Iran is still remarkably helpful in managing refugee affairs."


Illegal Afghan refugees are unable to return home due to the instability in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, they are deprived of certain social rights here. "We explored the possibilities of their repatriation during my last trip to Afghanistan, and the state officials agreed to pave the way for their safe return home," she said.

In addition, Iran has also provided educational facilities for Afghan, Iraqi, and Pakistani women and girls as of 2009. Currently, seven centers across the country and four in Tehran affiliated to the ministry of education are specifically catering to these groups, ISNA reported.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN Refugee Agency, is mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland and it is a member of the United Nations Development Group. For its contributions, the UNHCR has won two Nobel Peace Prizes in 1954 and 1981.