First Afghan nationals who fled the country after Taliban seized power have arrived in Wales
The first Afghan nationals who have fled their country after the Taliban seized power have arrived in Wales.
50 families, comprising of around 230 people are now resettling across Wales, many of them have supported UK armed forces in Afghanistan.
Under the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme (ACRS) the UK will provide protection for people at risk identified as in need.
Those include in the resettlement scheme have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights, or because of their gender, sexuality or religion.
The UK government has committed to welcome around 5,000 people in the first year and up to 20,000 over the coming years.
The majority of those who have arrived have directly supported Wales-based and Wales-facing Armed Forces units in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.
“A ‘Team Wales’ approach has ensured that collaborative multi-agency working has been delivered at pace to ensure Wales can truly embody our Nation of Sanctuary vision.” The Welsh government has said.
This has involved the Welsh Government, Welsh Local Authorities, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Ministry of Defence, refugee support organisations and local Welsh Afghans themselves.
A collaborative national approach will continue in the coming weeks to ensure additional families can be brought safely to Wales and integrate effectively with our communities.
Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said:
“Today, we welcome the families and individuals that have served our country in Afghanistan.”
“We have made clear our pledge of Wales being a Nation of Sanctuary and we’re committed to do all that is possible to ensure Afghan interpreters, refugees and their families are welcomed.”
“Wales is a Nation of Sanctuary – we will do all we can to provide a warm welcome in the short-term and our communities will, no doubt, be enriched by their skills and experiences in the very near future.”
“All local authorities in Wales are participating in these schemes and have offered their support and assistance to the Afghan citizens who are being resettled in the UK.”
“I want to thank all of our partners in this collaborative Nation of Sanctuary approach to coordinate this significant undertaking.”
“I also want to place on record my particular thanks to Urdd Gobaith Cymru for having the humanitarian vision to ensure we can provide a distinctly Welsh welcome for our new Afghan friends.”
Chief Executive of the Urdd, Sian Lewis said:
“This has been a huge team Wales effort across all sectors, and we are grateful to our partners for enabling us to open our doors as a refuge to families seeking shelter and safety.”
“As an organisation, we are proud to help and continue to share with our members the importance of loyalty to country and culture but also to humanity and a higher good.”
We have a moral obligation as a national youth organisation to support humanitarian projects and offer a hand of friendship and support to the Afghan community in their time of need.”
Colonel Sion Walker, Deputy Commander 160th (Welsh) Brigade said:
“160th (Welsh) Brigade and its Joint Military Command (Wales) is structured to support Welsh Government and all local authorities when dealing with major situations as we have done throughout the COVID pandemic.”
“By supporting all those agencies involved in by cohering and refining the Wales plan, it has enabled them to focus on their key areas of responsibility and enabled the Wales plan to be pulled together in little over a week.”
“There are direct historical links with Wales based and Wales facing units and members of many of those families coming to Wales.”
“They will have worked alongside each other during very difficult times in Afghanistan; our involvement is recognition of the support given and comradeships developed during those times and we are proud to have played a part in making Wales a nation of sanctuary.”
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