Call for Irish government to lead in its response to the refugee situation in Afghanistan.

Call for Irish government to lead in its response to the refugee situation in Afghanistan.

In response to the unfolding situation in Afghanistan Oxfam Ireland, as part of a group of 12 organisations working on Migrant, Asylum and Refugee rights, has written to the Irish government calling for Ireland to lead in its response to the refugee situation in Afghanistan. A copy of the letter is available here.

Welcoming the initial commitment to offer 150 people humanitarian admission to Ireland, plus commitments to prioritise family reunification the letter recommends other important actions. These include:

  • Use the unfilled resettlement places from 2020 and 2021 to resettle Afghan refugees
  • Increase the number of humanitarian admission visas given to people at risk of persecution in Afghanistan
  • Ensure international protection is provided to Afghan protection applicants currently in Ireland through an expedited process
  • Fast track family reunion applications and broaden criteria
  • Ensure Afghan people have access to the international protection process in Ireland

Oxfam Ireland and organisations working on migrant, asylum and refugee rights in Ireland believe Ireland can continue to show strong humanitarian leadership on this issue, through membership of the Security Council, and other diplomatic channels. However, this needs to be backed up by concrete actions, domestically and internationally.

Ireland can use its existing resettlement programme to resettle Afghan refugees. According to UNHCR there are currently 96,000 Afghan people in neighbouring countries in need of protection. There are at least 1,100 unfilled resettlement places from 2020 and 2021. We are recommending that at least a 1,000 Afghan refugees are resettled.

We can also expedite applications from Afghan people in Ireland and provide them international protection. There are currently around 211 Afghan people living in Direct Provision.

Family reunification can also be fast tracked so family members, many of whom are likely to be in danger, can leave.

Approximately 97 Afghan people were refused leave to land in Ireland between 1 January 2020 and 31 May 2021, people in this situation need to be given access to the protection process if needed.

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