Islamic Republic of Iran
Operation: Islamic Republic of Iran
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|2019 planning figures|
|95%||of people of concern have access to secondary and tertiary health care|
|1,000||people of concern will be facilitated for their departure for resettlement|
|805||Afghan refugees will be provided with entrepreneurship/ business training|
|25||schools will be built to enhance the capacity of the national education system and facilitate the access of additional 9,000 refugee and host community children to education|
|20||projects benefiting local and displaced communities will be implemented to enhance community engagement and resilience|
|2017 year-end results|
|129,560||refugees were enrolled in the Universal Public Health Insurance scheme (UPHI), out of whom 112,735 were vulnerable refugees|
|18,680||people with specific needs received support|
|2,100||over-aged children and adults refugees benefitted from literacy trainings|
|11||schools for refugee and host community children were constructed|
People of Concern
Islamic Republic of Iran
Working environmentThe Islamic Republic of Iran hosts one of the largest and most protracted urban refugee populations in the world, largely from Afghanistan. Of the close to 1 million Afghan refugees in Iran, 97 per cent live in urban areas while 3 per cent reside across 20 settlements managed by the Government. Approximately 450,000 Afghans who hold Afghan passports with Iranian visas also live in Iran as well as an estimated 1.5 to 2 million undocumented Afghans, of which 800,000 participated in a headcount exercise initiated by the Government in 2017 as part of a process to regularise the undocumented foreign population in Iran. UNHCR stands ready to support the Government in any future activities on this. There is also a smaller population of refugees from Iraq.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has included refugees into its primary health care (PHC) system and UNHCR supports efforts of the Ministry of Health, to ensure quality PHC services are available to, and further expanded to refugees. Since 2015, refugees have also had access to the national universal health insurance scheme. The inclusion of universal health coverage, including for refugees, is within the 6th National Development Plan. Activities implemented jointly by UNHCR, the Government, and local NGOs in the areas of secondary and tertiary healthcare, and harm reduction all contribute to support the Government to provide improved and quality access to healthcare for all refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
UNHCR continues to support the Government in order to accommodate the formal and non-formal education of the large population of Afghan and Iraqi refugee children, through supporting construction of schools and access to literacy training. Refugees and foreign children have access to the national education system at the same level with nationals. While national schools have been welcoming refugees, construction of additional space and procurement of necessary equipment and materials stretch the already limited resources.
The Government of Iran has over the past years introduced increasingly inclusive and progressive refugee policies, enabling refugees to access national services, primarily in the areas of health and education. UNHCR continues to work under the framework of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees. In a quadripartite meeting between UNHCR and the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, in December 2017, it was agreed to extend the strategic framework for the 2018 and 2019. Details of the extension are elaborated in the UNHCR regional plan, Enhancing Resilience and Co-Existence through Greater Responsibility Sharing, which, in line with recent global developments, places enhanced emphasis on international responsibility sharing. Furthermore, focus remains on voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity as the preferred solutions for the Afghan refugees, and on providing assistance to refugees, host communities and host countries in the meantime.
The Government of Iran conducted headcount exercise of foreign nationals with specific category in 2017, primarily Afghans, during which the identified undocumented population was estimated at 800,000 people. The Government has shown willingness to engage with UNHCR in identifying most appropriate legal status and documentation for this population starting in October 2018.
Key PrioritiesIn 2019, UNHCR will focus on:
- Supporting implementation of the inclusive refugee policies of the Government of Iran, for refugees to access health care, health insurance and education. This will include supporting the Government’s efforts to continue extending the national health insurance scheme to refugees by subsidising the insurance premium of identified extremely vulnerable refugees while working with the government to seek sustainable solutions, i.e. addressing affordability of the insurance premium; and supporting the Government’s efforts to enhance the capacity of the national education system to absorb addition children, through construction of education facilities.
- Support the government of Iran in its effort to regularize and document the undocumented Afghan population in Iran while also exploring to establish a safe-guard system to identify persons in need of international protection. This will include access to birth registration and assisting refugees in obtaining other civil registration;
- Improve access to livelihoods, through enhancing refugee enrolment into cross border job placement programmes and increase in diversified livelihoods opportunities; as well as in demand-driven vocational and technical education programs with on the job training.
- Expanding and exploring access to durable solutions for the Afghan population, including through voluntary repatriation, resettlement, and complementary legal pathways to third countries.