Jun 19, 2022, 10:24 AM
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Iran hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over half a century

Tehran, IRNA – For over half a century, Iran has been hosting a remarkable population of Afghan refugees, who fled their country because of conflicts and insecurity while the Islamic Republic has been grappling with the eight-year Iraq-Iran war and US-led sanctions.

The United Nations designated June 20 as World Refugee Day in a bid to honor millions of humans, who have turned into homeless people as a result of war as well as economic, social, and security hardships.

Afghanistan has been involved in military conflicts and instability since 1979 when the former Soviet Union attacked the country; then, the US and its NATO allies invaded the war-torn country in 2001, so millions of Afghan people have taken refuge in Iran.

Despite the fact that the issue of Afghan refugees is a very complicated one, international entities and governments do not abide by their own commitments and they just continue to reiterate humanitarian slogans.

Since the early years following the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Iranians hosted Afghan asylum-seekers and today there are more than 3 million refugees from the eastern neighboring state in the Islamic country.

According to analysts, the war in Ukraine has pushed aside the current crisis in Afghanistan and Afghan refugees are facing discriminatory behaviors, especially in European countries.

But the Afghan refugees are experiencing another kind of treatment in Iran. Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei underlined that children of all refugees from Afghanistan should be provided with education services in Iran, which is proof that Iranians show hospitality in dealing with asylum-seekers from the eastern neighboring country.

On August 15, 2021, former Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani fled the country and the Taliban came to power; then, millions of Afghans left their homeland. And once again, the Islamic Republic embraced numerous Afghan refugees.

In December 2021, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi urged the international community to pay special attention to the Afghan nation’s living conditions.

Amirabdollahian said that the capacity for offering services to more Afghan refugees does not exist and the international society must pay special attention to the Afghan people.

Grandi, for his part, appreciated Iran’s broad-scale moves in assisting the new Afghan refugees, adding that Iran’s paying close attention to vaccination of a high percentage of the Afghans living in Iran and settling down the new wave of refugees that arrive in the Islamic Republic every day are significant humanitarian moves.

However, the international community is expected to find a way to solve the challenges of the Afghan people and increase humanitarian aid.

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