The Islamic Republic of Iran hosts one of the largest urban refugee populations in the world. The fall of the government of President Ashraf Ghani and the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban last August have intensified this wave of displacement.
According to the UNHCR, in October 2020, before the fall of the government of President Ashraf Ghani, the Islamic Republic of Iran was hosting 800,000 Afghans who have been granted refugee status, as well as around 2,250,000 additional Afghans in irregular situation. Various estimates indicate that the Afghan population in Iran has grown by several hundred thousand people since last August.
This humanitarian emergency has been compounded by the impact of COVID-19 in the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to WHO data, as of 11 January 2021, the Islamic Republic of Iran has reported 6,204,512 cases of COVID-19 and there have been more than 131,847 deaths from the disease.
Faced with this situation, the Islamic Republic of Iran launched an appeal for help through the European Civil Protection Mechanism in which it requested 6,000,000 vaccines against COVID-19 for the Afghan population residing in the country, to which Spain, in a show of solidarity with that country in the fight against the pandemic and in recognition of the important role it is playing in welcoming Afghan refugees, has responded with the delivery today in Tehran of 2,204,000 vaccines.
With this donation, Spain fulfils the commitment to donate at least two million vaccines to humanitarian contexts made by the President of the Government on 8 November, at the event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Convention on the Statute of the Refugees.
Also, this donation, which is part of the so-called ” Team Europe ” and is co-financed by the EU’s European Civil Protection Mechanism, is one more sign of Spain’s firm commitment to the international donation of vaccines, having already donated more than 50 million doses and ranking as the 6th largest donor in the world and 2nd in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Finally, this donation is also a clear sign of solidarity with the Afghan people.