'You're welcome here': Councils pledge to rehome Afghan refugees

Former Afghan interpreters and veterans hold a demonstration in Parliament Square

Former Afghan interpreters and veterans hold a demonstration in Parliament Square - Credit: PA

Camden and Haringey councils have pledged to support the resettlement of refugees from Afghanistan.  

The government agreed on August 17 to welcome up to 20,000 Afghan refugees in the UK, including 5,000 this year.  

The move follows an unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan over recent weeks, as the Taliban took control of the country where the UK and the US have deployed troops since 2001. 

Cllr Georgia Gould, the leader of Camden Council, said: “It is devastating to see the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. 

“We are concerned for the safety of all Afghan citizens and are particularly concerned about the safety and rights of women and girls.

“The government must act quickly to ensure the safe and legal passage for those fleeing the Taliban and we stand ready in Camden to welcome refugees seeking safety.  

“Camden has a long and proud history of helping refugees, often stepping in where government has failed to take action. 

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“We will welcome families into our borough and give them the support and help they need to rebuild their lives.” 

Haringey Council said that “in these very worrying times we want our friends and neighbours to know that we stand with them and share their pain”.

Former Afghan interpreters protest in front of the Home Office in Westminster

Former Afghan interpreters protest in front of the Home Office in Westminster - Credit: PA

The local authority’s leader, Cllr Peray Ahmet, cabinet member for health Cllr Lucia Das Neves, and Lucy Nabijou, co-ordinator of Haringey Welcome, put out a joint statement.  

It said: “In line with our values, we will proudly play our part in settling some of those families here in our borough.  

“Settling and integrating families who have suffered considerable trauma requires intensive and long-term support and we would ask that government looks again at the funding package that it is making available to local authorities, health partners and the voluntary sector to do this.    

“Boroughs like Haringey can and will do more if we are sure that the necessary resources will be made available to support us.” 

The statement added: “We believe refugees reaching our shores must have their claims assessed based solely on need and never on their method of travel.” 

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Each and every day we work closely with local authorities across the United Kingdom to ensure suitable accommodation and support is in place for those seeking asylum or resettlement in the UK.

“We are grateful to all local authorities who currently support and would encourage all local authorities to come forward and offer further assistance to these vulnerable people."

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