Press Release

Republic of Korea contributes USD 2.5 Million to UNHCR and UNICEF in Support of Afghan Refugees in Iran

15 December 2021

TEHRAN – 14 December 2021. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNICEF, the UN Children’s Agency, welcome the contribution of USD 2.5 million by the Republic of Korea in support of programmes to help Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Today, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Iran, Mr. Yun Kahghyeon, signed an agreement of cooperation in this regard with representatives of the two UN agencies, in the presence of the UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, Mr. Stefan Priesner. 

“The Republic of Korea will remain as a staunch supporter of the UN and the host country of Iran in the spirit of burden-sharing. With today’s donation of 2.5 million USD, Korean Government’s contribution for the last 7 years to address Afghan refugee issue in Iran marks about 30 million USD. I sincerely hope that today’s donation contributes to coping with the crisis and ameliorate the living standards of the newly arriving Afghans and the local people,” said Mr. Yun, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea.

“UN agencies cooperate to support the Islamic Republic of Iran in the best way possible. We are grateful that the Republic of Korea is increasing the partnership with us by contributing generously to finding joint solutions to the crisis, not only in Iran but the entire region,” said Priesner.

UNHCR and UNICEF will work together to maximize the impact of this funding, which will go towards enhancing joint preparedness measures to enable us to cope with the large number of Afghan asylum-seekers fleeing to Iran. This will include activities to improve access to clean water, construction and maintenance of latrines, showers and laundry facilities for some 7,000 people in two new refugee settlements that are being constructed by UN agencies and partners in border areas.

 “At this critical moment when the needs and vulnerabilities of Afghans in Iran are increasing, UNHCR greatly appreciates the Republic of Korea for their support in helping provide life-saving assistance to asylum-seekers,” said Mr. Ivo Freijsen, the UNHCR Representative in Iran. “UNHCR continues to appeal for adequate measures to be put in place to welcome newly arriving Afghan asylum-seekers in Iran, and this important contribution will help humanitarian organizations do exactly this.”

“This donation from the Republic of Korea is much appreciated at such a difficult time when more refugees from Afghanistan are desperately fleeing their country to Iran in the hope of benefitting from basic life services. Thanks to this generous support, UNICEF can make key Water, Sanitation and Hygiene interventions available for newly arrived refugees by supporting the required infrastructure. Water and sanitation services are a frontline humanitarian response priority to prevent the risk of communicable disease and ensure dignity among the most vulnerable Afghan children and families in Iran,” added Dr. Robin Nandy, UNICEF representative.

It is estimated that up to 300,000 Afghan asylum-seekers have fled to Iran this year alone in search of safety, while UNHCR has only been able to screen some 25,500 newly arrived Afghans for protection needs. The total number of Afghans who have entered the country is likely to be significantly higher, hence the need for UN agencies in Iran to remain prepared and able to gear up its operations if and when more Afghans flee to Iran. 

Iran already hosts an estimated 3.5 million Afghans and for over forty years have provided them with access to health, education, and livelihoods opportunities. The Republic of Korea is one of the top supporters of Iran’s humanitarian efforts, and this latest contribution exemplifies the spirit of international responsibility-sharing and solidarity embodied in the Support Platform of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR), of which Korea is a prominent and reliable member of the Core Group. This is derived from the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which aims to ensure that refugee-hosting countries get the support they need from the international community.

The overall response is laid out in the inter-agency Regional Refugee Preparedness and Response Plan (RRPRP), outlining measures and contingency planning. The plan complements existing programmes for refugees in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.


More information, please contact: 

UNICEF: Bahareh Yeganehfar, or mobile: +98 912 105 9106 

UNHCR: Farha Bhoyroo, or mobile: +98 912 132 7183 



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