Hackney pledges to support Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban rule
Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: PA
Politicians in Hackney have pledged to support Afghan refugees fleeing their country after the Taliban took control.
The pledge came last month as thousands attempted to flee, including some who fear for their lives after working as interpreters for the British and American military.
The government said the UK can take 5,000 refugees from Afghanistan over the next year.
City of Sanctuary UK wants the government to commit to providing refuge for 10,000 as part of the global resettlement scheme.
Hackney Council said it was unable to provide details about the local support it will offer until it hears more about the government’s extended Afghan refugee resettlement scheme.
Hackney mayor Philip Glanville said: “We at the council are deeply distressed by the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and impending humanitarian crisis. Our hearts go out to the Afghan people living this terrifying new reality.”
He said Hackney has “a long-standing reputation for welcoming migrants and refugees, especially those fleeing conflict in hope of a better life, including most recently families from Syria”.
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Last January, the council said it was committed to supporting at least seven families fleeing the conflict in Syria.
Mr Glanville added: “We are all ready to step up again, and support Afghan refugees fleeing the dangerous and chaotic circumstances in the country.
“We have begun preparing practical solutions to ensure we can participate in the government’s existing resettlement programme, which is for people who worked for the British Government and military – the pressing priority being finding suitable housing when availability is so limited.
“As with many other local authorities, we have some resourcing concerns, and have written to the government to ensure we have the appropriate levels of funding."
The Afghan Association of London added: “We welcome the news that the government will accept 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan over the next five years, however this does not go far enough.
“The government must take fast and immediate action in order to save the lives of vulnerable people, and if that means accepting more than 5,000 Afghans this year, that is what must be done.
“We ask that the government immediately abandons its inadmissibility rules and its decision to delegitimise and criminalise refugee journeys that are not undertaken through regulated resettlement routes."