Health, Nutrition for Afghan Refugee Kids

Health, Nutrition for Afghan Refugee KidsHealth, Nutrition for Afghan Refugee Kids

A Letter of Understanding (LoU) was signed in early August by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices to cooperate in child protection, education, health and nutrition of Afghan refugee children in Iran.

The LoU is valid from August 2015 till December 2016.

Iran has hosted millions of Afghans, one of the largest and protracted refugee populations in the world, for more than three decades. The government continues to generously provide them with services related to education, health and livelihood, says a UNICEF press release.

At present, there are 979,410 refugees in Iran (951,142 Afghan and 28,268 Iraqi) of whom 97% reside in urban areas and less than 3% in settlements, according to the 9th Amayesh (Iran’s refugee registration system) re-registration exercise.

Iran’s Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) undertakes the re-registration of refugees under the ‘Amayesh Scheme’, by which refugees are provided Amayesh cards that enable them access to basic services, and facilitate the issuance of work permits.

Under the scheme, 209,000 vulnerable refugees were identified through joint efforts of BAFIA and UNHCR.

BAFIA and a number of local and international NGOs work with the UNHCR to ensure that all the registered refugees are aware of and have access to basic services as part of the national programs.

The programs are guided by the Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), a regional, multi-year strategy initiated in 2012 between Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan and UNHCR to support voluntary repatriation and sustainable reintegration while also supporting host countries to assist refugees.

Iran has been at the forefront of the SSAR, and was the first country to operationalize the strategy which includes a focus on livelihood, education, health and voluntary repatriation.

Under the current joint country program of cooperation (2012-2016), UNICEF in Iran works with BAFIA to increase access of Afghan children to basic education and other inclusive social services. Support to civil society and NGOs is also given to provide Afghan children and adolescents with basic education services and protect them from maltreatment and abuse.