Due to the recent change in the government in Afghanistan, numerous people are trying to flee the country resulting in a humanitarian crisis. Several countries are organizing an evacuation for Afghans. Some countries are welcoming refugees with open arms while other countries have refused.
Here is a list of countries and their stance on the whole refugee situation.
The United Kingdom announced that they are willing to accept 20,000 Afghan refugees in the coming years. They are coming up with a new settlement program that will give women, girls, religious groups, and minorities the top priority. Prime minister Boris Johnson stated that 5000 people will settle in the UK in the first year.
Canada also announced that it is welcoming 20,000 Afghan refugees. They are mainly prioritizing minorities and the LGBTQIA+ community. The globe and mail reported, “They will include women leaders, human-rights advocates, journalists, LGBTQ individuals, those who belong to persecuted religious groups, and families of interpreters already resettled in Canada.” They claimed that they are also planning a special immigration program that offers sanctuary to afghans who previously worked for Canadian officials.
The United States mainly focuses on evacuation. In the past 20 years, the US has welcomed Afghan refugees. In July, reports said that the US admitted 494 Afghan refugees for this fiscal year [end in September]. In August, the US decided to widen the criteria and allow refugees who previously worked for US organizations. As of now, there are 15,000 Afghans who have relocated to the US through the Special immigrant visa program. The US is prepared to shelter up to 22,000 refugees in their military bases.
The United States has also decided to outsource refugee operations to other countries. They are:
- Uganda: at the request of the US, Uganda has decided on housing 2,000 refugees, only up to three months. After three months will be moved elsewhere.
- Albania: the Albanian government has accepted the request of the US and has decided to allow 300 refugees. The refugees will be staying at student hostels and some hotels near the western port, in the city of duress.
- North Macedonia: the government of North Macedonia is willing to temporarily provide shelter to 450 Afghan refugees at the request of the US. They are letting only Afghan employees and their families who worked in – humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, activists from rights organizations, journalists, translators, students, and scholarship holders in the country.
- Kosovo: at the request of the US, the government of Kosovo stated they are ready to house the refugees temporarily until conditions improve. The government hasn’t provided any details for their accommodations yet.
India’s main focus was to evacuate Indian citizens from Kabul. Officials in New Delhi have said that they will stand by Afghan refugees who previously worked with the Indian government. India is also introducing emergency visas for Afghan refugees to stay in the country for six months. All refugees can apply for this visa online, and the processing of the applications is in Delhi. The government states that they will prioritize Hindu and Sikh refugees.
Pakistan decided to allow refugees but with restrictions. The prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, told the New York Times that the country didn’t want an influx of refugees from Afghanistan as they are already struggling with the refugees already residing in Pakistan. For now, the borders are open to Afghan refugees. The information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, told the Times magazine that they came up with a “comprehensive strategy” to set up camps for refugees near the border to stop people from going into Pakistan.
Iran is also temporarily allowing refugees. They have set up emergence tents for the refugees. Iran shares a 900 km border with Afghanistan and already has afghans residing there. Hossein Ghassemi, the chief of ministry border affairs, told the IRNA news agency “ any refugee that crosses the border will be repatriated once the conditions improve.”
Switzerland’s government made a statement saying they will not be accepting large groups of Afghan refugees directly from the country. The refugees are supposed to go to institutions that will review their applications. Only the people who require immediate attention should get a hold of humanitarian visas. The government is working towards evacuating 230 local aid agency workers along with their families from afghan. They are also evacuating employees who worked for the Swiss department.
Australia says they haven’t made any plans for the refugees. The government doesn’t want to let countless refugees into the country expressing security concerns. Prime Minister Morrison stated, “I note that some are talking about figures of 20,000, but can I tell you there are no clear plans about that. Australia is not going into that territory.” They want to steer clear of the entire situation and not get involved.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that they intend to work alongside Pakistan to help stabilize the migration of Afghan refugees. The Turkish government is forced into taking measures to stop the influx of refugees into the country by political opponents. The government has responded by stepping up the construction of the border wall with Iran.