People in Afghanistan are fleeing for their lives. Women are concerned about forced marriage and losing their basic rights. Meanwhile, the Taliban is targeting ‘disloyal’ Afghan people by forcibly searching the homes of those who are affiliated with Western organisations.
If you feel helpless, you are not. From writing to your MP to attending a rally, there are actions that you can take to positively impact the people at risk in Afghanistan.
Write to your MP
Our government has said that it will take 20,000 Afghan refugees over the next five years. While this is good news, people in Afghanistan are fearing for their lives now. Additionally, our government intends to continue with legislation that will discriminate against people forced to flee danger without legal documentation. No doubt, it will include many people who will be unable to obtain visas or passports. This bill will face its third reading in the House of Commons this autumn, before moving to the House of Lords.
This ‘Borders Bill’ needs amend its legislation so that people will be allowed their human right to claim asylum in the UK, regardless of how they came here.
Write to your MP urging them to ask the government to act with more urgency, and to change legislation in the ‘Borders Bill’ that will discriminate against Afghan people without visas. The party allegiance of your MP does not matter.
In fact, if your MP belongs to the Conservative party, it could be even more effective as our government is more likely to respond to pressure from within.
If enough of us in the UK get on board no matter what our party affiliation, our national government will have to listen to our demands.
- Writing to your MP has never been easier thanks to Safe Passage’s form. All you need to do is fill in your details, and the form will automatically find your MP and send the pre-written email to their inbox. Yes, it is easy as that.
- Here is another email template that you can use. Feel free to copy and paste it, add in your details and make any preferred changes before sending to your MP via post or email. Here’s a useful guide to finding and contacting your MP.
2. Sign a petition
While it is good that the UK government will accept 20,000 refugees, it will be implemented over five years. People’s lives are in immediate danger, and they need saving now – not in five years. Continue to sign petitions urging our government to do more.
We also need to continue fighting against the government’s anti-refugee legislation in their Borders Bill. Sign Refugee Action’s petition against it.
3. Highlight Afghan voices and spread the word
It is only by learning about the experiences of people who’ve been forced to flee that we can change minds, and spur people into taking supportive action.
A note that many members of the Afghan diaspora are experiencing a difficult time, so please be mindful when asking them to share their story or include trigger warnings.
4. Donate to rescue efforts
Many NGO workers in Afghanistan have been evacuated due to fears for their lives. So, it is all the more important to support ongoing rescue efforts on the ground. The International Rescue Committee and Afghan Aid provides shelter and support to displaced people in the country.
Or you can pledge your frequent flyer miles or credit card points through Miles for Refugees, who help resettle displaced people.
There are also Afghan people seeking sanctuary in the UK who need our help. Support smaller charities around the UK who help on this front, such as KRAN. They are a Kent-based charity who support many young Afghan asylum seekers. Refugee Action is also supporting newly arrived people from Afghanistan.
5. Send a letter to your local newspaper, councillors, MPs, organisations, and anyone else that you can think of!
Local voices matter. A build up of political and media pressure can affect change in national policy.
You can send this letter template to as many locally influential people and organisations that you can think of, and ask them to sign. This could be your council, MP, local newspaper, and any community figures such as religious leaders. The more signatures, the better!
Then you can send that letter to your local MP or local media, to continue to build momentum for the cause. The more signatures you have, the more local media is more likely to cover your story.
6. Share helpful resources
Many Afghans are currently trapped, and are looking for ways out. ‘Clicktivism’ has had a bad reputation recently, but do not underestimate the power of sharing valuable resources and helplines; it just might reach someone who needs it.
This Facebook post is an invaluable resource that helps Afghans find entry into nearby countries, if they are struggling to get out of the country.
Share this Twitter thread gathering resources helping people in Afghanistan get out of the country. It might reach someone who needs it.
This is the UK government’s website with information for people in Afghanistan seeking help. Unfortunately, the government have not yet published details on the resettlement scheme, but keep an eye on this page.
7. Attend or organise a rally
It is early days, but there will be rallies calling on our government to do more to help people fleeing Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Keep an eye out on our social media.
🗣️📢A public appeal for our government to step up and help Afghans is happening tomorrow, for those who are in and around London. Spread the word! https://t.co/gh8Oyv5g3G
— IMIX 🧡 (@IMIX_UK) August 17, 2021
Or, you can organise your own event. The Together with Refugees campaign is a national coalition of 200+ organisations calling for our government to create a better approach to refugees. You can organise a rally using the Together with Refugees slogan, and their orange heart symbol – the international symbol of refugees.
You can organise your own, local rally or event. You can find campaigning resources here.
8. Host refugees
Over the coming months or years, Afghan people seeking safety in the UK will need our help. If you have room to spare in your home, why not consider hosting who are seeking safety in the UK? Many hosts report that it is a fantastic, satisfying experience, and that many have made lifetime friends. Some organisations you can check out are Refugees at Home and Reset UK.
9. Donate items or volunteer your time
As people from Afghanistan start arriving in the UK, they will have to go through the legal process and before getting work permits and settling into their new lives. Until then, they will need housing, essential items etc.
Finally, many of the above organisations are now relying on volunteers to sort through items and ensure they end up in the hands of people who need it. If you’re based in Greater London, this map shows you local organisations supporting people from Afghanistan.