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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


June 7, 2000

Afghans are human like us

Please be informed that just the photos of the Afghan refugees were by me and not the introduction ["Not welcome"]. I'm a photojournalist, I like social subjects. My main purpose in choosing this subject was to help the Afghan refugees by showing their pains to people all over the world.

I have no problem with the Iranian government and I live in Iran and I'm happy about it . But I have seen the pains of these refugees and their poor life and it is my job to reflect it. Afghan refugees are humans like us. Nobody has shown their life in Iran but I wanted to.

I want to say to you that I myself spent my own money on this project without any other support. I had talked with UNHCR but they rejected me. Other organizations did the same. To complete this project I traveled to the frontier point between Iran and Afghanistan where the refugees leave Iran.

The Iranian government with help from the UNHCR is sending Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan. They say it's a voluntary return. But actually the refugees have six months time to leave Iran with UNHCR help. They will get free transportation from Iran to Herat in Afghanistan, $40 US dollars and 50 kilos of wheat for each person. But after this six months is over, they will send the refugees out with no help and by force! Does this mean a voluntary return?

Ali Khaligh


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