Under unilateral sanctions but generous host of refugees

TEHRAN, Jun. 27 (MNA) – Hosted by about 5 million Afghan nationals in the country, Iran is the fourth country in the world that generously hosts refugees despite enduring the consequences of oppressive sanctions.

According to the statistics, the Islamic Republic of Iran faces the greatest number of Afghan refugees, without either financial or legal benefit from this generous hosting under international law.

For many years, the issue of Afghan children's education has been an important concern for all philanthropists and those who considered children's education an inalienable right for them.

Under unilateral sanctions but generous host of refugees

In 2015, the official announcement of an order from the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei as a final word was made for all temporary decisions of various authorities. The order explicitly stated that all Afghan children, whether they have achieved the legal requirements of being in Iran or those who have failed, should attend public schools and no Afghan children should be prohibited from education.

The order gave great hope to all those who have been concerned about the presence of Afghan children in schools over the years. A few months later, former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, in official remarks, offered the Afghan government's appreciation for the decision made by Ayatollah Khamenei. Fortunately, this order was implemented in the first two years after issuance in full coordination with the executive and government agencies, and a large number of Afghan children joined Iranian public schools and study alongside Iranian children.

Under unilateral sanctions but generous host of refugees

Iran has become the fourth largest refugee population in the world in terms of the number of asylum seekers living in the country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

That is why in recent years, the organization has repeatedly praised Iran's asylum policy, even if it is merely verbal, but it has identified Iran as one of the most generous countries with them.

In late 2020, the Commissioner thanked Iran for granting citizenship to children with Iranian mothers and foreign fathers, as 75,000 undocumented Iranian children were officially granted citizenship. 

In this regard, a special representative of Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi on Afghanistan Hassan Kazemi Ghomi highlighted that Iran is home to hundreds of thousands of new refugees without the support of alleged advocates of human rights in the recent developments in Afghanistan and has now supported millions of refugees.

Under unilateral sanctions but generous host of refugees

Since the new era of the refugee crisis has become particularly important to the world's public opinion and their problems have affected many nations around the world, it was on June 20, 2000, that the world dedicated a specific day as "International Refugee Day" to call for empathy and compassion in host countries with asylum seekers.

At a glance, the presence of Afghan refugees in Iran can be divided into several periods, given its extent in terms of the history of developments in Afghanistan.

The first wave of immigrants to Iran began with the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

The second wave of this migration was in 1990 with the collapse of the Afghan government and the subsequent formation of the Taliban in 1996.

But the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 marked the third wave of migration, and with the fall of Ashraf Ghani's government on August 15, 2021, the world witnessed the fourth wave of Afghan refugees arriving in other countries, including Iran.

Due to the presence of approximately 5 million Afghan refugees in Iran due to decades of war, suffering, poverty, and insecurity resulting from the presence of foreign occupiers, Iran's record on the type of hosting of these displaced people on world day has been reviewed and paid special attention.

It should be noted that Iran has hosted the world's largest refugee community in the last four decades, especially Afghan citizens, and even during the imposed war and the oppressive sanctions of recent decades by the US, Iran was not willing to stop providing its help and services to Afghan nationals because of sacred religious emphasis and humanitarian standards, and Afghan nationals, like other Iranians, can work, study and live honorably among other people.

It was August 2021, when international policies added to the severity of Afghanistan's catastrophic humanitarian crisis, left a quarter of the country's population at risk of famine and severe levels of hunger, leading Afghan families to take more desperate measures to survive.

This date coincided with the end of two decades of US occupation in Afghanistan and the irresponsible withdrawal of its troops from the war-torn country, creating far more dire conditions for the Afghan people and exacerbating the refugee crisis in the world and neighboring countries of Afghanistan.

According to official statistics, there are about 5 million Afghan nationals living in Iran today, while unofficial statistics show more than this number.

Despite the dismal biological conditions during eight years of Iraqi imposed war on Iran and the outrageous economic and political sanctions imposed by the West, a lot of Afghan nationals are working in various parts of Iran among other Iranians, and Iran has made all its efforts to provide the needs of asylum seekers, including their accommodation, employment, healthcare, and education.

Under unilateral sanctions but generous host of refugees

On May 7, 2022, the Iranian Parliament Research Center reviewed the education status of immigrant children in Iran and noted that the number of non-Iranian students enrolled in the country's schools has been increasing steadily since 2006.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, more than 503,000 non-Iranian students were enrolled in more than 28,000 Iranian schools across the country, according to the report.

However, educational services to documented displaced people living in Iran have been provided equally and based on Iranian-Islamic culture in the region, especially for legal refugees, which has provided Afghan refugees not only educational but also medical services in Iran.

Under unilateral sanctions but generous host of refugees

According to the Middle East Eye, “An increasing number of Afghan families have found refuge in neighboring Iran after the Taliban government reneged on its promise to allow girls to go to school in March.”

“It has now been more than eight months since girls in Afghanistan were allowed to attend secondary school,” the digital news organization added.

About 20 million Afghans face food insecurity and deprivation of cultural and educational services due to the recession, drought, cuts in aid, and the freezing of billions of dollars of Afghan funds in the US since the Taliban returned to power as the World Food Programme - the food-assistance branch of the United Nations – reported.

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

During the meeting, Grandi thanked Iran’s broad-scale actions in helping the new Afghan refugees, noting that Iran’s paying particular attention to vaccination of a high percentage of the Afghans residing in Iran and settling down the new group of refugees that regularly arrive in the Islamic Republic are considerable humanitarian steps.

Under unilateral sanctions but generous host of refugees

On November 18, 2021, Iran's Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi addressed the United Nations Security Council on “Situation in Afghanistan” terming the Humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as “highly alarming".

The role of the United Nations in the current situation is crucial. We support the efforts of the UNAMA and other UN agencies in aiding the Afghan people, he noted.

As a neighboring country, and based on common historical, cultural, linguistic, and religious bonds between our two nations, Iran cannot remain indifferent to the plight of the People of Afghanistan, he further noted.

For over four decades, we have hosted millions of Afghans and generously helped them, particularly during the pandemic and under severe economic situations resulting from unlawful U.S. sanctions, the envoy underlined.

Compiled and translated by Amin Mohammadzadegan Khoyi

News Code 188436

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