Today, Commissioner Christos Stylianides is concluding his second visit this year to Iran. During his three-day stay, the Commissioner met with the national authorities, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of Interior and representatives from the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) and visit humanitarian projects across the country. He also discussed humanitarian issues in the wider Middle East region.
"The EU and Iran are equally concerned with the humanitarian situation in the region. I am pleased to see the outstanding and strategic efforts of Iran to provide quality assistance to Afghan refugees. Our funding contributes to these efforts and especially to supporting the education of Afghan children. During my visit, I also discussed the increased cooperation in the field of civil protection and disaster risk reduction that the EU and Iran agreed in April this year." said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian aid and Crisis Management.
During his visit, Commissioner Stylianides announced an additional €6 million in humanitarian funding to help Afghan refugees in Iran, bringing the overall EU humanitarian support to €12.5 million in 2016. Importantly, he raised international awareness on the humanitarian challenges in the country and laid the foundations for further closer humanitarian cooperation with Iran.
After decades of protracted displacement of Afghans, Iran is currently hosting more than 970 000 documented refugees. The figure of undocumented refugees soars to more than 2 million. The most vulnerable group of people are undocumented Afghans, who are often in need of water and sanitation facilities, livelihood support (such as vocational training) and healthcare, while their children require assistance with integration into formal education.
Since 2002, the European Commission has been continuously providing humanitarian aid to refugees and asylum seekers in Iran. Between 2002 and 2015, the European Commission allocated €10.5 million to Afghan refugee programmes.