Source: Fars News Agency, Tehran
Head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)'s Office in Tehran Sivanka Dhanapala praised Iran's performance in hosting and aiding foreign refugees, specially the Afghans. Dhanapala announced on Thursday that Iran has been successful in hosting the highest number of refugees in the world, and praised the country's contribution to the promotion of refugees' welfare and upgrading their educational level.
Afghan refugee boys in Iran (source: UNHCR)
The literacy rate of the Afghan refugees that stood at six percent upon arrival in Iran, dramatically rose to 60 percent in 2013, he said, adding that this is an indication of Iran's success in that regard.
"No host country can gain such an achievement," Dhanapala said.
Praising Iran's hospitality, he said, along with Lebanon and Pakistan, Iran has been the major refugee hosting country around the world.
Iran has been a generous host for more than 2 million Afghan refugees for two decades, with little help from the international community.
Tehran has called on the international community to strengthen support for Iran for hosting the Afghan refugees and provide repatriation support for the refugees.
Voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees from Iran has slowed in recent years in the face of poor security and economic conditions in Afghanistan, which Tehran blames on the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.
The office of the UNHCR was established by the UN General Assembly in 1950.
According to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, the agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.
UNHCR first opened an office in Iran in 1984 and expanded its presence with the massive influx of Iraqi refugees following the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the start of Afghans' mass return movement to Afghanistan in 1992.
Today UNHCR has its Central office representation in Tehran, plus three sub offices in Mashhad, Kerman and Ahwaz.
... Payvand News - 06/29/14 ... --