• November 28, 2021

UK ‘must do the right thing’ for Afghan refugees

What we are all seeing happening in Afghanistan on our televisions is truly desperate and heartbreaking. I cannot imagine the panic and fear that people must feel as the Taliban increase their control over the country. People trying to find a way to leave to protect themselves and their families from the brutality of the Taliban.

Most of the Afghan refugees will go to neighboring countries; Iran and Pakistan, but these countries already host many of the 2.6 million existing Afghan refugees. We need to take a step towards this global humanitarian need, we have to play our role and lead the way to do what is right, responsible and compassionate. Why should we expect other countries to keep their borders open to fleeing Afghans if we in the UK are not doing our bit?

We have a duty to these people, a humanitarian duty but also a moral duty because of the way our ill-calculated withdrawal caused such swift and disastrous consequences. We also owe it to the hundreds of British soldiers who died not to abandon those they fought to protect.

“Global Britain” sounds like a bad joke if, after turning our backs on Afghanistan, we turn our backs on those fleeing the consequences of our betrayal.

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We will hear from the government on Wednesday about its response to the crisis. We need to ensure that all those British citizens and their families, including dual nationals, are given a safe and rapid route out of Afghanistan. Every Afghan who assisted the British forces (directly employed or outsourced) must be taken to a safe place in the UK, with his family. They must be moved to a safe location before your application is accepted.

We need to offer a resettlement program similar to Syria’s in 2015, prioritizing those at specific risk from the Taliban, including women in leadership, the media and education. We must also review the live immigration cases of all those Afghans in the UK, including those detained by immigrants on an urgent basis; it should now be fairly easy to license most of them.

This crisis in Afghanistan illustrates how the nationality and borders bill currently pending in Parliament simply does not work in favor of those seeking refuge. It is not legislation that makes it easy for us to be a welcoming nation for those fleeing persecution. It is designed to keep people out and to wash our hands of our responsibilities, passing them on to other European nations and neighboring countries, which are often struggling to cope with the refugees they already host.

It’s interesting how Priti Patel has always claimed that her border bill is what the British people want, but now that we see the reality of what people are fleeing from, I wonder if the British people are still behind it. When Afghans reach our shores, would the British people really want them to be sent to another European country that is already taking its fair share or, if admitted to the UK, to be housed in unsuitable and insecure barracks, desperately submitting, scared people to further degradation. Is this really what we are as a country? I do not think it is.

I hope that the plight of the Afghan refugees is a wake-up call to our humanity and that the British public will now lead the government, as it did in 2015 with the Syrian crisis, on how we should show compassion to those fleeing for their lives. .

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