100 charities call on government to reunite Afghan families

January 17, 2023

More than 100 charities and activists have signed a letter calling on the prime minister to facilitate the resettlement of family members of thousands of Afghans evacuated to the UK. The letter was coordinated by Safe Passage, in partnership with the Families Together coalition and the Refugee Council. 

Beth Gardiner-Smith, the chief executive of Safe Passage International, said: “It’s been 18 months since families were torn apart when Kabul fell. The government has effectively abandoned Afghans, leaving them without a process to reunite with loved ones who are at risk despite repeated promises made.

“Afghans remain one of the top nationalities risking their lives to cross the Channel, but rather than create the safe routes that would allow them to reunite with family, the prime minister prefers to concentrate on new laws to further punish refugees.”

Enver Solomon, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, one of the letter’s signatories, said: “Refugee Council’s frontline staff are supporting Afghan evacuees who remain separated from their close family. We have provided support to children who were evacuated without their parents and have no idea when they will see their mum or dad again.

“The impact of this separation is huge. Children cannot focus on making new friends and settling into a new school. Adults cannot focus on learning English or getting a job when they’re consumed with worry for the safety or their partner or their child.

“The lack of any visible action from government is only making the situation worse, with many of the people we support feeling increasingly helpless.”

Afghan campaigners and representatives from the Refugee Council and Safe Passage went to Westminster today to speak to MPs directly about the letter and the need to reunite families. 

The letter was handed in to 10 Downing Street this evening by Afghan campaigners and representatives from the Refugee Council and Safe Passage. 

Safe Passage and the Refugee Council are awaiting a response from the government.