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Afghan Committee for Disabled Launched in Mashhad
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Afghan Committee for Disabled Launched in Mashhad

The Afghan Committee for People with Disabilities has been launched in Mashhad, the capital of northeastern Khorasan Province, to enhance community-based activities and to bring together the various groups and organizations that are actively providing services for refugees living with disabilities in Iran.
The committee was established last month on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, commemorated worldwide on December 3 every year.
It was set up in close cooperation with local charities, the State Welfare Organization, UNHCR Iran, and its government counterpart, the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs (BAFIA). 
The key objective of integrating the different associations into one committee is to better enable refugees with disabilities to take control of their lives, and to develop personal skills and capacities within the wider society, unhcr.org reported.
As part of the inauguration program, the head of the committee Jafari (only single name given), explained that the slogan ‘live together’ was selected “as a means to advocate refugees’ rights and enhance social integration of persons with disabilities within their communities.” 
The committee has highlighted the importance of creating an inclusive society that benefits from the capabilities of refugees in their communities.
Majority of Afghan refugees in Iran live in the provinces of Tehran (31%), and Khorasan (15%, including Mashhad, the second most populous city after the capital Tehran).
Mashhad’s total population is nearly 3 million, and among the 1.2 million people living in the city fringes, nearly 300,000 are Afghans. There is a huge settlement of refugees in the holy city where the shrine of the 8th Shia Imam, Imam Reza (AS), is located. 
Millions of Afghans live and work in Iran, legally and illegally, despite the efforts of the government and the UN refugee agency to repatriate them.
Most Afghans took refuge in Iran either after the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, or following the Afghan civil war in the 1990s and the US invasion in 2001. 
During the past decades, Iran was host to nearly four million Afghan refugees. 
At present there are 3 million of whom 1 million have legal refugee status. 
Health insurance for refugees has been provided in three different packages, including a specific one for patients with certain diseases, a separate one for vulnerable groups and a third package for those not in the first two groups. 
More than 360,000 Afghan children study in Iranian schools and 20,000 in universities. 

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