UN praises Iran for Afghan refugee efforts

A senior level UN official praised Tehran for taking in millions of Afghan refugees over the past 40 years. The official called Tehran’s refugee efforts “exemplary” and commended the Iranian government for keeping its borders open.
Afghan refugees Photo Credit: EPA

Sivanka Dhanapala, the head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees mission in Tehran, praised Iran for its refugee efforts, calling them “exemplary.” Over the past 40 years, Iran has taken in millions of Afghan refugees. There are approximately three million Afghan refugees currently in Iran, making it the fourth largest refugee population in the world, according to the UN.

“The leadership demonstrated by the Iranian government has been exemplary in hosting refugees and keeping borders open,” stated Dhanapala, who is from Sri Lanka. Dhanapala cited that two years ago, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered schools throughout the country to educate all Afghan children even if they are undocumented.

“We've also worked with the government on incorporating refugees into a government-sponsored health insurance scheme which is a ground-breaking development not just for Iran but globally for refugees,” Dhanapala added.

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