On Wednesday the 8th September 2021 The Orpington Labour Party held it’s monthly meeting with CLP Members. There were a number of questions around how members, affiliates, and politicians could support the campaign to bring justice to this humanitarian crisis and activity stand up for those who haven’t got a voice.
In August, Taliban forces rapidly took control of virtually all of Afghanistan following the United States military withdrawal. Chaos and violence impeded the evacuation of at-risk Afghans at Kabul’s airport. Advancing Taliban forces in several provinces summarily executed some officials and security force personnel. After the takeover, the Taliban conducted raids on the homes of former government officials, along with journalists and civil society members. Taliban authorities increasingly restricted women’s rights and media freedoms, as they have in areas previously controlled.
The past year’s fighting resulted in a record number of civilian casualties, including from targeted Taliban and Islamic State attacks and government airstrikes. Conflict and drought have caused the number of internally displaced people to soar, overwhelming Afghanistan’s fragile humanitarian aid system. Additionally, the healthcare system is unable to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, said:
“After the despicable acts of violence we witnessed on Thursday, the end of the evacuation from Kabul Airport marks a sad and dark day for many people in Afghanistan.
“Amid the chaos, there have been many acts of courage. The Ambassador staying at his post to process every case he could. Paratroopers lifting people from the crush. Afghan soldiers who continue to serve alongside us to the end.
“Soldiers and airmen, diplomats and embassy staff, working side by side with many Afghans have struggled tirelessly and bravely under immense pressure to get as many people to safety as possible. Their efforts must be widely recognised and honoured.
“It has been a remarkable effort in unimaginably difficult circumstances with many acts of courage and heroism.
“However, with the withdrawal we face the heart-breaking reality that people have been left behind, including many to whom we owe so much. The British Government must take its fair share of the responsibility and has serious questions to answer about how, despite having 18 months to prepare, their failure to plan and inability to influence others has contributed to this tragic political failure.
“But first, although we no longer have a military presence in Afghanistan, we cannot and will not walk away from our obligations to the Afghan people. We must urgently help the thousands who we have left behind, some of whom are eligible for relocation under the ARAP scheme. There are MPs all over the UK who have constituents still pleading for their help. The Government must work quickly to deliver a strategy to get those people out and work with the UN and partners to quickly deliver essential aid directly to those in need.
“We must then confront the new reality and challenges of Taliban control. Britain and our allies must use every lever we have to try and hold the Taliban to account. Before Parliament returns, the Prime Minister should set out in detail the G7 roadmap he has promised, including a plan to control Afghan financial assets, and a strategy to ensure Afghanistan does not become a haven for terror and a threat to our security once again.”
The Government has pledged to house 20,000 people who have fled from the country since the Taliban took charge but only over the next five years. Many have already started to arrive with authorities scrambling to find accommodation for them all. A request was sent out to all 333 local councils in the UK in an attempt to find suitable homes, The Telegraph reported.
Around 100 signed up to take some of the refugees but 30 said no, claiming they ‘don’t have resources or they have their own concerns,’ source Telegraph.
Published on Friday, 20 August 2021 Bromley Council issued a statement saying it was signing up to the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme, however they failed to mention the number of refugees they would be willing to take and the support they would offer housing, education, healthcare etc.
Actionable Points for Members
- Members can be proactive in writing to local councillors, the leader of the council and Gareth Bacon MP, to ensure as a Borough we are doing all we can to support these families in rebuilding their lives.
- Members can lobby the council to ensure they are using all resources in the best way with a view of being outcome driven.
- Members can actively contribute their ideas and suggestions to Orpington Labour thus ensuring as a local party we are continuing to develop our approach to an ever evolving situation.
- We activity encourage members to join our policy and campaign discussions – and to table items on the monthly meeting agenda.
- Members can join a Human Rights body such as The Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Liberty.
- Members can also subscribe to a number of UK based Human Rights organisations enabling you to stay up to date with UK and International humanitarian developments.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.
Orpington Labour Party