Oct 5, 2013, 9:03 AM
News Code: 80845163
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UNHCR lauds Iran's generous protection to refugees

Tehran, Oct 5, IRNA – UNHCR High Commissioner, António Guterres lauded Iran’s continuous support in providing generous protection to the remaining Afghan refugees.

Delegates from around the world attended UNHCR’s annual Executive Committee (ExCom) meeting from September 30 until October 4, 2013 in Geneva.

UNHCR and its intergovernmental and non-governmental partners reviewed and approved the agency’s programs and budget, advised on international protection

and discussed a wide range of other issues.

In his opening remarks to ExCom, Guterres said, “As I address you today more people have been forced to flee their homes, losing their livelihoods, their plans for the future and what they held dearest- their families”.

He continued that UNHCR is stretched to the limits by this combination of emergency unparalleled in the recent past and the persisting crisis around the world. However pleased to say that despite all the difficulties and gaps, the generosity of host countries and local communities, the strong financial support from donors, partnership, improved delivery in the field, and innovative projects have helped UNHCR and its partners to provide protection and assistance to so many people.

Guterres also stressed that forced displacement is on the rise and pointed to the worrying situation of globalized refugee populations that is the same community being spread across dozens of countries, turning into most protracted situations of exile like Afghans and Somalis.

“There are still 2.6 million Afghans spread across 82 countries with the most remaining in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan. The Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees launched in 2012 includes governments of these two countries as well as Afghanistan and UNHCR.” He emphasized that strong international support for all aspects of this strategy is therefore crucial.

Gueterres referred to Iran’s continuous support in providing generous protection to the remaining Afghan refugees saying, “The Government of Iran is to be commended for its progressive policy of ensuring that all refugee children attend school and that refugees have access to work permits and a far-reaching health insurance scheme”.

He also expressed that finding durable solutions for refugees and the displaced persons remains the ultimate goal of UNHCR’s work and ended by stating that the principle of giving refuge to those fleeing violence is a universal value, “Let us stand together to protect this fundamental human value for the millions of people around the world who depend on it”.

The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has generously hosted refugees for over 30 years and at present is host to around 880,000 refugees. Iran is also member to ExCom and was represented in this meeting by a delegation headed by Deputy Minister of Interior for Security and Disciplinary Affairs, Ali Abdollahi.