The unfolding situation in Afghanistan is a humanitarian and displacement crisis.
It is becoming clearer with every passing day that the people of Afghanistan cannot wait for the UK Government to act in order to be safe. We need to see rapid, comprehensive and far-reaching action.
We are calling on the UK Government to:
- Activate a global and inclusive resettlement scheme that focuses on the protection needs of some of the most vulnerable refugees in the world. As the UNHCR UK representative recommended, this scheme should be an established part of UK refugee protection policy and resettle 10,000 people each year. The separate ‘bespoke’ Afghan resettlement scheme should have a target of at least 10,000 people a year, and 50,000 people by the end of this UK Parliament. Efforts should be front-loaded to this year in particularly. The people of Afghanistan need help now, next year may be too late for many vulnerable people.
- Expedite outstanding and new asylum applications from Afghans in the UK, to grant these individuals refugee status. We estimate such a comprehensive expedited process could provide 3,453 Afghan nationals with Refugee leave. That status would in turn enable these new refugees to exercise family reunion rights and bring their close family to safety in the UK. The expedited process must also be underpinned by bans on enforced returns and, for those in asylum accommodation, evictions.
- End its planned reforms to the UK’s asylum system. The Nationality & Borders Bill and its regressive anti-refugee protection clauses, would effectively close off the UK’s asylum procedure, to the vast majority of refugees who seek safety in the UK. That will include people from Afghanistan, who like many people seeking protection from other nations, necessarily arrive in the UK through so called ‘unofficial’ routes.
The Scottish Parliament debated the situation and what can be done to support the people of Afghanistan on Thursday 2 September.
You can read the briefing we provided to all MSPs on the situation ahead of the debate below.