22 Feb 2024
The Iran Project : he International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) are collaborating to provide health and rehabilitation services to vulnerable immigrants in Golshahr district in Mashhad, northeastern Khorasan Razavi province.
ICRC, IRCS cooperating on health, rehabilitation services to vulnerable immigrants
ICRC, IRCS cooperating on health, rehabilitation services to vulnerable immigrants
According to The Iran Project,Razieh Alishvandi, the IRCS director for international affairs, and Vincent Cassard, the head of the ICRC delegation in Iran, paid a visit to the Golshahr project site on Thursday, the IRCS website reported.

The project focuses on the provision of health services to pregnant women, and people who are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, mental health disorders, and physical disorders, Alishvandi said.

She went on to say that the ICRC and the IRCS with the help of the Society for Recovery and Support – an NGO authorized by the State Welfare Organization – assist recovered people to support vulnerable immigrants in Golshahr.

The IRCS is taking action to identify and evaluate the situation of vulnerable refugees. It will try to meet their health needs including mental support and physical rehabilitation, Alishvandi noted.

“The Society for Recovery and Support provides an opportunity for Afghan women who need psychological support to share and solve their problems.”

Launching home businesses and vocational training centers, empowering for creating jobs, earning money, educating, and raising children are among the other programs of the IRCS in this regard.

It is worth noting that the IRCS health project is carried out by physicians, nurses, social workers, and dieticians. The health project includes medical consultations, physical rehabilitation, referrals to laboratories and radiology centers, dental centers, and specialists.

It also provides support for purchasing medication, receiving psychological and psychiatric consultations, nutrition, and holding health awareness-raising sessions with the help of nurses and dieticians.

In addition, it supports the target societies by providing social harm reduction services.

Afghan nationals in Iran

Official statistics say around five million Afghan nationals live in Iran, about one million of them live in Khorasan Razavi province, mostly in the capital city of Mashhad.

For over four decades, Iran has been hosting one of the largest and most protracted refugee situations in the world and has provided asylum to refugees, mostly from Afghanistan.

The recent fast-paced turn of events in Afghanistan has the potential to create additional population movements; internally displacing families and potentially driving them to neighboring countries to seek refuge.

Iran is home to over 800,000 registered refugees and some 2.6 million undocumented Afghans. Today, more than 500,000 Afghan children- including undocumented Afghans and those who have newly arrived in Iran are benefitting from Iran’s inclusive education policies, one of the most progressive in the world.

Despite the sanctions and economic pressures, Iran continues its comprehensive policy of providing services to refugees, and this is appreciable, UNHCR’s Officer in Charge, Inna Gladkova, said in November 2022.

The best solution and the most stable support system for refugees is that have access to schools and education just like Iranian nationals, she stated, IRNA reported.

Iran has taken effective and continuous measures to include all refugees, and the UNHCR also declares its readiness to fulfill its obligations, she noted.

In May, Robin Nandy, the representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Iran, said the country’s comprehensive program for the protection of refugee children is encouraging.

Making investments in programs and services to better care for and support children affected by migration and asylum will reduce costs in the future, he added.

Emphasizing the important role of non-governmental organizations in supporting refugee and immigrant children and teenagers, Nandy expressed hope that holding educational workshops will lead to the promotion of children's rights and justice for children.

ICRC, IRCS welcome inking co-op MU

In September, the ICRC and the IRCS welcomed signing a five-year memorandum of understanding in order to give a boost to bilateral ties.

Within the framework of ICRC duties, the memorandum could be greatly helpful in better responses to crises, ISNA quoted Robert Mardini, ICRC director general, as saying. 

IRCS and the ICRC can play a complementary role in many fields, he added.

He made the remarks in a meeting in Geneva on September 13 with Yaqoub Soleimani, the secretary general of IRCS.

All activities relating to the principles of the International Red Cross, international humanitarian rights, and its promotion are the basis of this cooperation, Mardini noted.

Referring to the IRCS as a reliable partner in West Asia, the ICRC official emphasized: "Our cooperation and partnership with IRCS is very important and valuable because of its vast and extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with immigrants, refugees, and victims of war."

Soleimani, for his part, welcomed the signing of the five-year memorandum of understanding and considered it to be a roadmap for more cooperation and interaction between the Iranian Red Crescent Society and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

He stressed IRCS's capabilities and capacities to serve the immigrants including over five million Afghan immigrants who have access to necessary facilities in education and health.

He pointed out, "Despite the problems caused by sanctions, IRCS has made great efforts to promote immigrants' well-being."

Soleimani went on to say Iran is prone to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and the adverse consequences of climate change, drought, etc. So, he reemphasized the importance of increasing the resilience of society in the face of these disasters.
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