The City of Sanctuary Local Authority Steering Group and members of the network are deeply concerned by the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
The humanitarian catastrophe is immense with over 3.5 million displaced Afghan people and it is likely to continue escalating. Unless the international community, including the UK, ensures that there are fast, effective, and safe routes for refugees from Afghanistan, we fear that many hundreds of thousands of fleeing people will be exposed to the dangers of trafficking, exploitation and even death.
Local Government has a proud history of welcoming and supporting refugees we therefore welcome the Home Secretary’s promise to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghans and urgently call on the Government to work with Local Government and Third Sector partners to design and implement a scheme with clear target numbers and time scales so that local authorities can plan effectively and provide sanctuary. Any scheme will need to be adequately funded so that local partners can provide vital services to those affected by this crisis without putting further pressure on council finances and services.
In the UK, there are over 2,500 Afghan people still awaiting Refugee Status. We, therefore, call on government to grant protection to these people with immediate effect, including people on temporary visas and those in detention awaiting removal.
The scenes at Kabul Airport are a reminder that many Afghans fleeing the Taliban don’t get a choice over the way they escape. We call upon the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to rethink the Nationality and Borders Bill so that those who make their way here are protected, not criminalised and returned to danger.
We stand in solidarity and share compassion with all our Afghan community members living in the UK and with the people in Afghanistan. We believe that Local Authorities need to stand ready and willing to support the Government in resettling those who desperately need sanctuary.
Local Authorities please email [email protected] if you wish to be listed as a supporter of the above statement.
- Swansea Council
- Brighton and Hove City Council
- Cllr Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council
- Bristol City Council
- Birmingham City Council
- Islington Borough Council
- Leadership of Reading Borough Council
- Lewisham Borough Council
- Cllr Macdonald, Cabinet member for Equalities, Neighbourhoods and Leisure, Southwark Borough Council
- Deputy Leader’s Office, Newcastle City Council
- Sir Peter Soulsby, City Mayor Leicester City Council