United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Afghan repatriation programs


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Afghan repatriation programs

The voluntary repatriation of Afghans is governed by a tripartite accord signed in Geneva April 2002 by Iran, Afghanistan and the UNHCR.

Under the program, voluntary repatriation centers were established in ten Iranian cities, such as Mashhad, Zahedan, Qom, Isfahan, Kerman, Shiraz, Yazd, Arak, and two in Tehran. The centers provide Afghan refugees with an assistance package, including a small monetary grant to facilitate their return.

The goal of the program was to repatriate 400,000 Afghan refugees by the end of the Iranian year (March 21, 2003). By March 1, 2003, 395,752 Afghans had voluntarily returned to Afghanistan. Another 2 million Afghan refugees in Iran will be repatriated in the next three years.

Prior to this latest program, the UNHCR had similar systems in place to assist Afghan refugees. In the spring of 2000, there were between one and two million Afghans in Pakistan. Many of them had left Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. Refugees returning under UNHCR guidance in 2002 received cash (US$100), six bags of wheat, a plastic sheet and a brief lesson on landmine awareness.


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