Mashhad: Voluntary Repatriation

The government of Iran and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are trying to make it easier for the over one and a half million Afghan refugees in Iran to voluntarily return home. At the Charcheshneh Voluntary Repatriation Center, refugees are given medical checkups, jerry cans for water, soap, and plastic sheeting. From here they will load trucks and busses for the 240-kilometer trip to the Afghan border. They are also given training to help them avoid mines left over from recent wars. When the refugees arrive home, they are given US$20. About 4,500 refugees go through this process each week.

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Photos by Reese Erlich and Keith Porter
© 2001 by The Stanley Foundation
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Afghans waiting inside the repatriation center.Afghan mother and daughter outside the repatriation center.

Loading a truck headed for the Afghan border.
Afghan refugees prepare to return home.