The SNP has said the UK government’s proposed Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme “doesn’t go anywhere near far or fast enough” to protect vulnerable Afghan citizens.
Ian Blackford MP (pictured) said it was crucial that the scheme was much more generous and moved at a much faster pace – calling for the UK government to increase the minimum target to welcome at least 35,000 Afghan refugees in the UK – in line with numbers allowed under the Syrian resettlement scheme, and for funding and processing capacity to be increased so that the scheme can be implemented over a shorter period.
The SNP Westminster Leader also said the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan demonstrated the need for the Tory government’s ‘anti-refugee’ Nationality and Borders Bill to be scrapped and for the Tory cuts to international aid to be reversed.
Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:
“The UK government’s proposed scheme doesn’t go anywhere near far or fast enough to protect vulnerable Afghan refugees – including women and children, and all those who are seeing their human rights and lives at threat under the Taliban regime.
“The UK government shares responsibility for this major foreign policy disaster, which has seen millions of Afghans displaced and living in fear of what will happen next.
“It needs to be far more ambitious, generous and swift to help the Afghan citizens that it has abandoned and left at serious risk of persecution and death.
“The UK government must make a minimum commitment of welcoming at least 35,000 to 40,000 Afghan refugees to the UK – in line with the population share of refugees welcomed from Syria.
“The process must be speeded up with additional funding, capacity and support to ensure refugees are welcomed over a much shorter period than proposed – weeks and months, not many years.
“Instead of patting themselves on the back for doing the bare minimum to tackle a mess they helped create, Tory ministers must reverse the cruel anti-refugee policies they have imposed – including by scrapping the appalling Nationality and Borders Bill and reversing the devastating Tory cuts to international aid.
“Otherwise their hypocritical words will ring hollow whilst the lives of many are at risk.
“Scotland stands ready to do our part – and we want to see a much more generous scheme so we can get on with welcoming Afghan refugees to our country with open arms.”