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Over 1.8 million Afghan refuges in Iran have returned home: UNHCR

Mashhad, Khorassan prov, Oct 25, IRNA -- Spokesman for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) in Iran Dina Faramarzi said in Mashhad on Monday that since the beginning of the UN sponsored program for volunteer return of the Afghan refugees 1,860,000 of them have returned home.

Faramarzi told IRNA that in 2004, more than 440,440 Afghan refugees have returned to their homeland.

Interior Ministry's figure point to 2.5 million Afghans settling in Iran during the two decade of devastating war in the country.

According to a tripartite agreement signed between Iran, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Afghan transitional government in 2002, over 19,000 Afghans have returned to their homeland from this province since the start of the current Iranian calendar year of 1383 (March 20, 2004).

In September, Managing Director of International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Iran has been plenty generous towards its Afghan and Iraqi refugees.

Speaking at the organization's Tehran office Brunson Mckinley told reporters that "Iran has bore significant burden in extending shelter and other assistance despite insufficient international relief."

He referred to "effective cooperation by the organization and Iran" in holding seminars on migrants and refugees affairs, combating human trafficking, cooperation on repatriation of refuges from Iran and assistance to Iranian expatriates in returning to their homeland.

Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Nasser Khaleqi has called for expediting of repatriation of Afghan and Iraqi refugees to their homelands.

In a meeting with Mckinley, Khaleqi appreciated the cooperation the organization has rendered to Iran on refugees issues.

Elsewhere in his talks, Khaleqi said that the establishment of the academic bureau of the IOM in Iran would promote the level of cooperation between Iran and that organization.

... Payvand News - 10/26/04 ... --

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