Financial Tribune- Germany will strengthen support for Iran’s policies for Afghan refugees by contributing five million euros ($5.58 million) in the next two years to the UNHCR Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR).
The SSAR is a quadripartite multi-year regional strategy between the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran together with the UNHCR.
In Iran, the strategy seeks to support voluntary repatriation, sustainable reintegration and assistance to host countries, with a focus on investing in refugee education and health and empowering youth, according to UNHCR.org.
“By increasing our support to the UNHCR Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees, Germany is stepping up its cooperation on displacement and migration with international organizations,” said German Ambassador Michael Klor-Berchtold on Thursday.
“We want to learn together from the challenges of recent years, especially in Iran which hosts a large number of Afghan refugees. Germany is one of the top donors to the SSAR and regards its support as an act of sustainable commitment to a global challenge but also as an act of common endeavor with Iran.”
The German Federal Foreign Office also supports the UN World Food Program and cooperates with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). In 2017, Germany doubled its support in the context of refugees and migration to 11 million euros ($12.3 million).
“At a time when many longstanding refugee situations are overshadowed by competing emergencies and humanitarian crises around the world, support for Afghan refugees in Iran from donor countries is very important,” said Sivanka Dhanapala, UNHCR representative in Iran.
Through its ongoing support to the office the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Iran, Germany is helping enhance access of refugees to basic services including education, livelihoods opportunities and skills training, primary healthcare as well as health insurance, he added.
While Europe is still trying to cope with recent waves of displacement and migration, Iran has hosted and supported one of the largest urban refugee situations in the world for nearly four decades.
An estimated 951,000 registered Afghan refugees, 28,000 Iraqi refugees and some 1.5 – 2 million undocumented Afghans are currently living in Iran, many of whom are second or third generation refugees that have never been to Afghanistan.