• Monday, September 26, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

MPs write to Raab to protect Afghanistan refugees

Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of the country. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

WITH the situation in Afghanistan deteriorating fast, British parliamentarian Navendu Mishra and 49 of his colleagues from across political parties have written a letter to foreign secretary Dominic Raab for extending urgent help to the refugees in the violence-ravaged nation who are at threat of persecution by the Taliban.

In the letter (open letter) dated August 13 and undersigned by Labour MP Mishra, the parliamentarians wrote the Taliban’s fast advance made them concerned over the fates of the refugees and urged the UK government to give them support.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab (Photo by Rob Pinney/Getty Images)

“Following the news that the Taliban have taken the 10th provincial capital in a week and the obvious implications of Taliban rule, we are hoping to seek assurances from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office that all refugees at risk from direct persecution by the Taliban will be given support from the UK Government,” they said.

Taliban takeover will see rise in refugee numbers, fear leaders

The politicians also said in the letter that the United Nations high commissioner for refugees has said that there are almost 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan, who include the largest protracted refugee population in Asia and the second-largest refugee population in the world. They feared that with the resurgence of the Taliban, the number would “inevitably rise in the coming months”.

“As we already know, minority communities, including Sikhs, Hindus and Hazara Muslims, have faced persecution in Afghanistan. In 2018, a delegation of Hindus and Sikhs were killed in a suicide bomb attack on their way to meet the Afghan President, and more recently, international bodies have warned that Hindus and Sikhs are facing extinction in the country.1 We know that in the past, Hindus were expected to wear yellow badges to identify themselves, a move which rightly provoked international criticism at the time.2 The persecution of Hazara people is also well-documented and as recently as 2020, there was the Bamyan bombing, which targeted civilians,” they penned in the letter.

The members of the parliament said the UN has warned of possible war crimes happening at the moment and appealed to all sides to come to negotiations and make a peaceful settlement. They also sought to know how the UK government will protect and support refugees from Afghanistan.

Raab on Sunday (15) said he was deeply concerned about Afghanistan’s future and called on the Taliban insurgents to give up violence as they entered Kabul, the capital city.

He also had a talk with Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and said he shared his deep concerns about the future of Afghanistan with the latter.

“Agreed it is critical that the international community is united in telling the Taliban that the violence must end and human rights must be protected,” the Conservative leader said.

Raab is “personally overseeing” the foreign, commonwealth and development office’s response and returned to the UK from abroad on Sunday as criticism was mounting over the UK’s handling of the Afghanistan crisis.

Prime minister Boris Johnson (Photo by Jonathan Buckmaster – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

British prime minister Boris Johnson on Sunday said no one wants Afghanistan to turn into a “breeding ground for terror” as the Taliban overtook Kabul.

Speaking after a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee, he said the situation “continues to be extremely difficult” and will get even more so.

He urged the “like-minded” powers to work together and not recognise any new government of Afghanistan without agreement.

The UK parliament is being recalled on Wednesday (18) to discuss the situation.

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