City of Sanctuary is horrified by the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.
The UK government must immediately identify more safe routes to sanctuary for Afghans, including those already on the move. Across the UK CoS groups and awarded sanctuary institutions like libraries, universities, and schools work daily to support those fleeing war and persecution. This reflects a wider commitment to welcoming and including those forcibly displaced. The people the UK have welcomed have contributed to society at all levels.
We can’t ignore our humanitarian duty to the people of Afghanistan.
City of Sanctuary UK has signed the Joint letter to the Home Secretary drafted by JCWI alongside 89 charities and human rights organisations to the Home Secretary, urging a generous and compassionate welcome to Afghan refugees.
The letter 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
We welcome the commitment to resettle people fleeing Afghanistan but 5,000 people this year is woefully inadequate.
We call upon the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to quickly identify how the UK will work with Local Authorities to ensure that more than 5,000 are supported to settle in our communities in the coming weeks and an additional annual target of 10,000 per year for the Global Resettlement Scheme.
The current plight of the Afghan people shows the reality that there are no safe or legal routes to seek sanctuary in the UK for all people at risk. This is why we oppose the Nationality and Borders Bill which will criminalise those who have struggled to get here to find sanctuary.
We share solidarity and compassion with all our friends living in the UK and with the people in Afghanistan.
Sabir Zazai, Honorary President of CoS UK said
“The Prime Minister must now show leadership and save lives by committing to a sizeable resettlement programme, grant humanitarian visas to those at risk and refugee status to all Afghans already in the UK needing protection.
The people we will welcome from this conflict will be proud citizens, like many others who have enriched their new adopted home. We have seen many great examples of people seeking sanctuary contributing during the pandemic. We must build on the goodwill of communities to nurture our longstanding tradition of offering sanctuary to those fleeing oppression, persecution and human rights violations.”
We are asking supporters to sign and share the petition calling on the UK government to do more and resettle 20,000 as soon as possible.
Click here for Template letters from Imix to send to your MP/ Council /Local newspaper. And from Ripon City of Sanctuary to MPs. The more noise we make together, the more we can influence decision makers to do the right thing. This is an opportunity to expose the failure of the Nationality and Borders Bill to effectively meet the needs of people fleeing conflict and persecution.