The images of desperate and afraid Afghans clinging to the undercarriage of a moving US military plane will stay with us forever. Some of the chaotic and tragic scenes at Kabul airport will never be forgotten.
We are talking about people, real people. People that are fleeing after they needed to endure forty years of war, climate change-driven natural disasters, food and water scarcity, chronic poverty, and a COVID-19 pandemic. With civilian deaths and injuries reaching record levels this year, 2021 is on track to be the deadliest year for Afghans in over a decade.
When the current conflict is poorly addressed, it is expected to see a mass migration of Afghans to neighbouring countries. With external borders closed, many people are forced to take dangerous and illegal routes out of the country, exposing themselves to exploitation, trafficking, forced recruitment, and violence. Some will even take on perilous journeys to seek safety and protection in countries further away, without knowing whether they will be deported or reunited with family, often ending up in refugee camps living in dehumanising conditions for years.
When there is conflict, neighbouring countries often end up taking the majority of the responsibility to provide support. They usually have a tough time dealing with the immense number of people seeking refuge. Therefore, high-income countries must offer safe pathways for those that require protection. Refugees must be given a fair chance to resettle and rebuild their lives without spending years in limbo in dehumanising conditions. Refugee camps need to be rebuilt, expanded and modernised, and the processing of asylum requests need to be made more efficient and fair.
What can we do to help Afghans?
- Put pressure on your government – ask to suspend deportations/returns to Afghanistan and urge to provide refugees with safe pathways, visa’s, housing and funding.
- Volunteer local to help resettled refugees with meal assistance, mentorship, tutoring.
- Financially support organisations operating to get people to safety, and that give people the support they need (@UNICEF , @Rescueorg , @SaveTheChildren , @ChooseLove , @refugees).