Finland supports Afghan refugees in Iran

Afghanistan Finland
Children set off to fetch water for people in Mazar-e Sharif, northern Afghanistan. © UNHCR/Edris Lutfi Children set off to fetch water for people in Mazar-e Sharif, northern Afghanistan. © UNHCR/Edris Lutfi

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the generous contribution of EUR 1.5 million from the Government of Finland, in support of Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Finland is one of UNHCR’s most steadfast supporters globally.

In Iran, this particular donation will help UNHCR, in coordination with its Government counterpart, the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs (BAFIA), to provide assistance such as healthcare, education and livelihoods support to the most vulnerable persons of concern in the country.

Finland’s contribution will also help UNHCR pre-position Core Relief Items, hygiene kits and tents along border areas, to help Afghans who are recently fleeing conflict and discrimination in their country. In 2021 alone, UNHCR is directly aware of some 18,000 Afghans who newly arrived in Iran using irregular routes, although the total number that have entered the country is likely to be significantly higher. Since the beginning of the year, over 660,000 persons were newly displaced within Afghanistan itself.

Strengthens humanitarian response

“Continued instability and uncertainty in Afghanistan have led to many Afghans fleeing to neighbouring countries such as Iran. UNHCR greatly appreciates Finland’s financial contribution, which will help strengthen the humanitarian response in Iran by allowing us to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to those most in need, including newly arriving Afghan refugees,” said Mr. Ivo Freijsen, UNHCR Representative in Iran.

“Finland highly appreciates the valuable work and action of UNHCR in this difficult and rapidly changing situation,” said His Excellency Mr. Kari Kahiluoto, Ambassador Designate of Finland to Iran.

Finland’s support to Iran comes at a critical moment and exemplifies the spirit of responsibility-sharing, international cooperation and solidarity towards the ongoing Afghanistan refugee situation. This is in line with the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which aims to ensure that refugee-hosting countries get the support they need from the international community, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation.

The Afghan displacement situation is the most protracted and third largest in the world. With the situation in Afghanistan still being volatile, sustained international support for UNHCR’s programmes will be needed in 2022 and beyond – both to ensure adequate emergency support for new arrivals, and to continue helping Afghan persons of concern who were already in Iran.