UNHCR urges more aid for Afghan refugees in Iran
KABUL (Pajhwok): The United Nations has blamed the international community for forgetting displaced Afghans before they began arriving in Europe last year.
At a joint press conference with Iran's Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaghariin Tehran on Saturday, UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi voiced his concern over the plight of Afghans.
He said: "This year, my first year as High Commissioner, I would use that opportunity to highlight the unresolved plight of Afghan refugees. Afghan refugees unfortunately have been forgotten."
Iran is home to over three million Afghan immigrants, with one million having legal refugee status.
Iranian media quoted Grandi as urging the world to boost support for Tehran's refugee protection programmes because "unless we help refugees" more they would look elsewhere.
He also underlined the need for bringing stability to Afghanistan to encourage refugees’ return to their homeland, "Voluntary repatriation has gone down to very few numbers."
Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hit out at insufficient international aid for Afghan refugees in his country, stressing their voluntary return to Afghanistan.
“Iran hosted [Afghan] refugees for over three decades but, unfortunately, received little international aid,” Zarif said in a meeting with Grandi. “Iran has always tried to provide the refugees with good facilities and has spent hugely on refugees’ education.”
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