Iran

This map shows the geographic distribution of refugees in Iran. The map uses the proportions from the 2015 Amayesh registration applied to data from 2020

The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

Afghan Voluntary Repatriation (UNHCR assisted return) in 2023 JSON 
488
Last updated 30 Nov 2023
Source - UNHCR 

* Out of the total number of repatriated refugees the majority are Afghans. See breakdown of nationalities below

Loading Number of Voluntary Repratriation per month

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    Create date: 12 June 2015 (8 years ago)
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    Publish date: 20 July 2020 (3 years ago)
    Create date: 18 February 2011 (12 years ago)
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    Publish date: 20 July 2020 (3 years ago)
    Create date: 18 February 2011 (12 years ago)
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    Create date: 28 March 2014 (9 years ago)
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    UNHCR Iran: New Arrivals from Afghanistan - End October 2023

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    Publish date: 20 November 2023 (17 days ago)
    Create date: 20 November 2023 (17 days ago)
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    Create date: 20 November 2023 (17 days ago)
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    UNHCR Iran: New Arrivals from Afghanistan - End September 2023

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    Publish date: 26 October 2023 (1 month ago)
    Create date: 30 October 2023 (1 month ago)
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    UNHCR Iran: New Arrivals from Afghanistan - End August 2023

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    Publish date: 25 October 2023 (1 month ago)
    Create date: 30 October 2023 (1 month ago)
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    Voluntary Repatriation of Afghan Refugees - South West Asia Quarterly Update, 2023 Q3

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    Create date: 18 October 2023 (1 month ago)
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    ُSeptember 2023
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    Create date: 12 October 2023 (1 month ago)
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    Publish date: 12 October 2023 (1 month ago)
    Create date: 12 October 2023 (1 month ago)
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    Create date: 27 October 2023 (1 month ago)
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    Create date: 8 May 2023 (6 months ago)
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    Create date: 16 March 2023 (8 months ago)
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    Publish date: 9 March 2023 (8 months ago)
    Create date: 10 March 2023 (8 months ago)
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  • Overview of Iran operation

    In 2022, the Government of Iran undertook a headcount of all undocumented Afghan nationals in Iran, including those who newly arrived in Iran following events in Afghanistan in 2021. The headcount was concluded on 30 June 2022 and, according to Iran’s Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA), some 2.6 million Afghans were registered through the headcount exercise and received ‘laissez-passers’, providing them with a form of temporary protection against refoulment during its validity period. The head-counted population was included under the category of refugee-like in UNHCR’s Annual Statistical Report (ASR) for 2023, to more accurately reflect the number of Afghans in Iran who may be in need of international protection. The inclusion of the 2.6 million refugee-like population has led to Iran becoming the second largest refugee-hosting country globally, following Türkiye. As the situation in Afghanistan remains volatile, UNHCR foresees that Afghans, especially women and girls, will continue to flee to Iran in the coming months. Of these refugees, 99 per cent reside in urban areas, and the remaining one per cent live in 20 government-run refugee settlements.
    In total, Iran hosts 4.5 million forcibly displaced people of varying statuses which include: 762,000 refugees (750,000 Afghan Amayesh card holders and 12,000 Iraqi Hoviat card holders, 2.6 million refugees-like population, 360,000 resident permit, 267,000 family passport holders and 500,000 undocumented Afghans.
    UNHCR relies on the Government for information and data on population movements. Due to UNHCR not having a comprehensive presence at the border and the complexity of cross-border movements, the figures used are estimates based on information provided by the Government and other sources. As such, it is estimated that some 4.5 million of displaced people of varying statuses live in Iran and potentially need protection and humanitarian assistance.
    UNHCR relies on the Government of Iran for information and data on population movements. Due to UNHCR not having a comprehensive presence at the borders and the complexity of cross-border movements, the figures used are estimates based on information provided by the Government of Iran and other sources. According to UNHCR estimates, 40 per cent of all new arrivals are returned by the Government of Iran and 5 per cent of the new arrivals continue moving onwards from Iran.
    Within the framework of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), UNHCR supports the Government of Iran in implementing inclusive refugee policies – in Iran, refugees have access to schools and follow the national curriculum, get free primary health care, and access livelihoods opportunities. However, Iran is going through a challenging economic period due to the evolving international and regional relations. This situation is posing a substantial strain on the government's ability to maintain its inclusive policies, while at the same time, the needs and vulnerabilities of refugees are increasing.
    UNHCR facilitates voluntary repatriation for Afghan refugees who wish to return to their home country once it is established that their return is voluntary, safe, dignified, and durable. Resettlement is one of the durable solutions to the plight of refugees and an essential element of international protection. UNHCR Iran works with resettlement states to receive higher quotas as it is an essential element of international protection.

    Refugees in Iran JSON 
    760,327
    Last updated 30 Jun 2023
    Source - Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran (GIRI) 
    Reported newly arrived Afghans in need of international protection (since 1 January 2021) JSON 
    80,482
    Last updated 30 Nov 2023
    Source - UNHCR 
    Iran demograpic breakdown
    Funding UNHCR Iran (2023)
    11400,00 US$
    Total appeal
    Date of Funding Data 15 August 2023 (3 months ago)
      Highlights
    UNHCR Iran marked World Refugee Day with a series of events celebrating refugees’ resilience and courage and the country’s commendable inclusive policies towards refugees. With over 3.4 million refugees and refugee-like populations, Iran has become the second-largest refugee-hosting country globally this year. Throughout Iran, a range of events were organized to commemorate this year’s World Refugee Day, under the theme “Hope Away from Home.” These events emphasized the importance of solutions, inclusion, and compassion towards those forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, or natural disasters. UNHCR Representative a.i., Ms. Inna Gladkova, in her Refugee Day message, paid tribute to the courage and remarkable resilience of refugees and commended Iran for its inclusive refugee policies, particularly in the sectors of education and health.
    20 Jun 2023
    UNHCR handed over essential medical equipment and medicines worth USD 10 million to the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME), in partnership with and the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs (BAFIA), on 11 April 2023 in Tehran. The equipment including, ambulances, dialysis machines, CT scanners, X-Ray machines, ventilators, mobile health post and laboratory, rapid testing kits for malaria, COVID-19, Cholera, Hepatitis, and other communicable diseases, as well as many other essential medical items, will be delivered to some public hospitals and health posts in 27 provinces across the country in refugee hosting areas and refugee settlements.
    11 Apr 2023
    UNHCR’s humanitarian supplies to support relief efforts in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province arrived in Khoy, which was hit by a deadly earthquake on 28 January. As part of a coordinated response with other United Nations agencies, UNHCR has sent core relief items – including 3,000 family tents, 1,500 plastic tarpaulin, 3,000 high thermal blankets, 3,000 sleeping mats, and 3000 family hygiene kits to the affected areas. Distribution of these items to the affected families is ongoing. According to the Government of Iran’s estimates, over 35,000 people have been affected – most of the damage reported in Khoy county. Iran has been a generous refugee hosting country for more than 40 years. In difficult times like these, we express solidarity with the people of Iran and we stand ready to continue supporting those in need of assistance.
    13 Feb 2023
    On 22 June, for the first time in two years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNHCR and the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) of the Ministry of Interior, brought together refugees, host communities, government officials, members of the diplomatic community and humanitarian and development partners to celebrate the courage, talent and resilience of millions of Afghans exiled in the country. A photography exhibition showcasing Iran’s long history of hosting refugees, starting from the 16th century with Armenians to this date, was one of the main features of the event. A refugee handicraft bazaar also attracted large numbers of people to appreciate Afghan crafts, cuisine and music at the landmark Milad Tower.
    05 Jul 2022
    Contact Information

    Please contact the following focal point

    Type of Inquiry Contact
    External Relations Duniya Aslam Khan, Communication Officer
    khand@unhcr.org

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