New Europeans UK have joined over 100 charities and human rights organisations urging the Home Secretary to ensure those forced to flee Afghanistan are not criminalised for their method of travel.
Signatories of the letter include the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the Afghan Council of Great Britain and the Refugee Council. The letter (read in full here) urges the Home Secretary to:
- Abandon the ‘resettlement-only’ plans set out in the Nationality and Borders Bill, that would criminalise or deny full refugee status to those who make their own journeys to seek asylum in the UK;
- Grant immediate asylum to Afghans already waiting for status in the UK;
- Release all Afghan nationals from detention;
- Expand the family reunion route so that Afghans can be joined by other members of their family, such as parents and siblings;
- Join the international effort to evacuate and resettle Afghan nationals.
Satbir Singh, Chief Executive for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, says:
It’s clear that the British government must shift gear swiftly to protect Afghan refugees. It must guarantee people’s protection based on need, not on method of flight; it must grant immediate asylum to the several thousand Afghans waiting for status, and it must release all Afghans from detention now.
Dr Ruvi Ziegler, Chair of the Board of Trustees of New Europeans UK and Associate Professor, International Refugee Law, University of Reading, says:
This crisis in Afghanistan could yet see the largest displacement of people since the Second World War. A comprehensive asylum policy response based on evidence and empathy must be implemented now in the UK to avoid the darkest of consequences in the weeks and months ahead for millions of Afghans. In addition to those who have worked, directly or indirectly, with the UK’s armed forces and to members of their families, the UK must protect women and girls, LGBTQIA+ people, journalists, judges, and educators whose lives are now at risk due to the repressive nature of the Taliban regime.
Stand in solidarity with refugees and support the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.
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