United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi | Photo: RCHIVE/EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi | Photo: RCHIVE/EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

The UN agency for refugees has asked the international community to provide greater support to Iran in order to help protect people fleeing from neighboring Afghanistan. Many Afghans have left the country following the Taliban takeover in mid-August.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has urged the international community to scale up its support to the government and people of Iran, who are receiving Afghans fleeing the deteriorating situation in their country.

The call was expressed in a statement that came after Grandi's three-day visit to Iran, which said that "(a)ccording to preliminary estimates by the government of Iran, up to 500,000 Afghans have arrived in Iran in 2021."

'Generous host'

The High Commissioner met with Iran's Foreign Minister, the Minister of Interior, and the Minister of Health to discuss how to move forward with managing and assisting newly arriving Afghans in the country.

Grandi also called on the Iranian government to recognize that Afghans fleeing their country need protection, especially considering the risks they might face if they were to return to their country.

"The Government of Iran has been a generous host of refugees for decades, despite their precarious economic situation made worse by the pandemic. But as the situation in Afghanistan remains fragile, we need to ensure those fleeing to Iran can get the protection and assistance they need", Grandi said in the statement.

'Pain and desperation' after Taliban takeover

Grandi met with several Afghan families, who had fled to Iran from Afghanistan's Nimruz province some four months ago. He stressed that ''Afghan refugees spoke of their pain and desperation at having to leave their homes behind.''

Several women also told the High Commissioner, according to the statement, that having had to abandon their studies and not knowing what their future may hold filled them with anxiety.

 

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