Opinion: Overwhelming majority of people will welcome Afghan refugees to Derbyshire and UK

You’d have to have a heart of stone if you weren’t moved by the footage of desperate Afghans clinging to a US plane leaving Kabul.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 10:26 am
Updated Thursday, 19th August 2021, 10:31 am

Reports say a number of young men fell to their deaths from the aircraft.

The video came after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in a matter of days after 20 years.

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Downing Street said the UK was asking its international partners to match its commitments to help Afghanistan's most vulnerable people after it pledged to take in up to 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next few years.

How could this happen?

I worry for the people of Afghanistan – in particularly women and girls, minority groups and journalists – and I also fear we will now see a rise in terrorism around the world.

In a press conference, members of the Taliban said the group had changed and they promised to, among other things, respect women’s rights and restore peace.

But United Nations’ chief Antonio Guterres said ‘chilling’ reports are already emerging of ‘severe restrictions’ on human rights throughout the country.

“I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan,” he said.

“We cannot and must not abandon the people of Afghanistan.”

Locally, many people will be wondering what they can do to help those in need in Afghanistan.

I’ve donated money to UNICEF this week to assist the charity in providing two Afghan families with emergency shelter kits.

Other charities which are currently running urgent appeals for Afghanistan include the British Red Cross, Save the Children and Afghanaid.

You, too, may also want to consider donating to one of these organisations.

As the humanitarian crisis deepens in the war-torn country, the UK Government has agreed to resettle up to 20,000 Afghan refugees displaced by the return of the Taliban over the next few years.

There are calls for that number to be far higher.

I think the vast majority of people in this country will welcome these refugees – they are human beings who will be terrified for their lives right now. They deserve to live in peace.

Of course, when the refugees arrive, it’s important they are offered appropriate support to help them to integrate into society.

It remains to be seen what happens for the future of Afghanistan.

The eyes of the world will be watching anxiously.

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