Afghan Friends, Forgive us

Iran is the third emigrant country in the Middle East and North Africa region where hosts Afghans since 1980s. With the population of 1.7 million Afghan immigrants, Iran is the main corridor for Afghan migrants. As per Ministry of Interior announcement, more than 2 thirds of Afghans residing in Iran are illegal emigrant. Afghans in Iran are mostly  refugees as well as traders, workers, exchange students, tourists and other visitors.

In 2011 the World Bank report on migration and remittances fact book announced that 23 per cent of Afghan emigrants were high skilled, where as being ranked as a country with the lowest income confirms this assumption that beside lack of social security and human right in Afghanistan, economic reasons have motivated them to choose Iran as their destination country. Although, Iran is some times a transit country to bring them an opportunity to reside in Canada and Australia .Common language, culture and religion encouraged Afghans to emigrate from Afghanistan to Iran during and after the war between Mojahedin and former Soviet Union in 1980s.

The picture : Dear Afghan friend, Forgive us.

Iranian government announced that there is a cost of 10 million dollar to facilitate Afghans situation and UNHCR has assisted almost 886,000 Afghan refugees to return home voluntarily since 2002. The repatriation continues under the auspices of tripartite agreements signed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan and UNHCR.

Although no official data is recorded regarding the amount of remittances they send back home, it is witnessed that during the long presence of Afghans in Iran they send their savings regularly through family members or trusty friends going back to Afghanistan either for long term or a visit.

Although language is not a barrier to communicate with Iranians, they are not engaged in the society as much as they deserve. Afghans has played and important role in the labor market and constructions especially after the years of finishing the Iran-Iraq war but they are still struggling with social problems. Thousands of Afghan men married Iranian women during their residence in Iran; however, under Iranian nationality law, the children of such marriages are not recognized as Iranian citizens, and it is also more difficult for the men to gain Iranian citizenship than for Afghan women married to Iranian men.

Although Iran opened its border gates to millions of fleeing Afghans from the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the subsequent civil war, they are currently experiencing less receptive treatments. About 100,000 Afghans were forcibly deported in 2007. Recently, these social pressures and limitation on Afghans in Iran has increased.  Afghans were prevented to gather in parks on Iranian festival in New Year. Residential of Afghan migrants is been forbidden in all the cities in Iran except Tehran, Qom and Alborz.

Iranian people have different approach towards this government’s decision and have expressed their support for Afghan residing in Iran. Recently, a new campaign on face book is launched to show individual Iranians making apologies due to government’s disrespectful treatment. This campaign is not the only one of this type but itself now has 2000 members who are expressing their respect to Afghans in Iran.

July 4, 2012 · Maryam Khazaeli · Comments Closed
Tags:  · Posted in: Migration, Social Life