Azaranica is a non-biased news aggregator on Hazaras. The main aim is to promote understanding and respect for cultural identities by highlighting the realities they face on daily basis...Hazaras have been the victim of active persecution and discrimination and one of the reasons among many has been the lack of information, awareness, and disinformation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

UNHCR Praises Iran's Generosity toward Refugees

TEHRAN (FNA)- Deputy Head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Veronica Irima praised the efforts made by the Iranian government and nation to host foreign refugees over the past years.

"I appreciate you, as an official of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for hosting such a large number of the world refugees," Irima said in a meeting with the Deputy Governor of Isfahan province in Political and Security Affairs Mohammad-Mahdi Esmaeili.

Pointing out that the Iranian nation's hospitality is internationally renowned, he reiterated, "Iran's viewpoint about the refugees differs with that of the other countries, and is very particular and unique."

Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, hundreds of thousands of Afghans have sought refuge in Iran, either directly across the Afghan border or by a long detour through Pakistan. Some are Shiites from Hazarajat, the central, largely Shiite district of Afghanistan which has been virtually autonomous since 1979. Others are Tajik and Turkmen from the Northern provinces of Afghanistan. Many come from the neighboring province of Herat.

No one knows the exact number of the refugees. But the Iranian authorities and the UNHCR estimate there are between 1.5 and 2 million.

The refugees are dispersed throughout Iran. According to UNHCR estimates, there are 600,000 in North Khorassan, South Khorassan and Khorassan Razavi provinces - 250,000 in the capital, Mashhad, alone - 150,000 each in the provinces of Isfahan, Kerman, Tehran, Fars and Yazd, and 120,000 in Sistan and Balouchestan province.

Many work in construction, agriculture, or in factories or small shops.

In 1979 the Iranians created the Council for Afghan Refugees (CAR), which is part of the ministry of interior. The CAR has grown increasingly alarmed at the growing number of Afghan refugees, and at the health and security problems they pose.

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