International staff: 4
National staff: 51
Since 1995, MSF has been aiding Afghan refugees fleeing civil war in their own country for shelter in Iran. In the city of Mashad, in northeastern Iran, MSF offers preventive and curative care to about 50,000 Afghan refugees through a clinic in the neighborhood of Gulshahr.
According to the Iranian government, more than 3,000 refugees enter Iran each week. In April 2000, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Iranian authorities signed an agreement for the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees. MSF agreed to provide medical care within this process. Within a six-month period, 100,000 repatriations are supposed to take place. However, Afghanistan is still a country at war, and there are worries about food security and drought.
MSF is closely monitoring this situation, especially with regard to the protection of refugees who are repatriated. There is particular concern for the most vulnerable, including ethnic and religious minorities and women.
MSF volunteers often speak out about the discrimination faced by Afghan refugees in Iran, and about the hardships they encounter during forced repatriation.