Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Afghan refugees stuck in UK hotels beg ‘send us home’

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Afghans recently resettled in Britain have spoken of their wish to return to the Taliban-controlled country.
A doctor has raised concerns about refugees being stuck in hotels (Picture:Getty)

Afghans recently resettled in Britain have spoken of their wish to return to the Taliban-controlled country.

A shortage of available permanent homes meant thousands of those who fought alongside British forces or fled in fear of their lives have been put up in hotels.

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Late last month the Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft said 7,000 were in emergency accommodation, and many would remain there into the New Year.

The resettlement scheme Operation Warm Welcome launched on August 29 but a doctor said he’s had ‘a few patients telling me they want to go home’ already.

He told the Guardian: ‘I had to put him on medication, and his wife, because they were so upset.’

The delivery of the scheme intended to help Afghans rebuild their lives in the UK has come under criticism from numerous angles.

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Concerns have been raised about refugees’ access to healthcare and getting registered with a local GP.

The Helen Bamber Foundation said contractors at some of the hotels were unaware of their obligation to get them signed up.

Handout photo dated 29/08/21 issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of UK military personnel and working dogs departing from a RAF C-17 aircraft at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire. The final UK troops and diplomatic staff were airlifted from Kabul on Saturday, drawing to a close Britain's 20-year engagement in Afghanistan and a two-week operation to rescue UK nationals and Afghan allies. Issue date: Sunday August 29, 2021. See PA story POLITICS Afghanistan. Photo credit should read: SAC Samantha Holden RAF/MoD/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
15,000 people including UK troops, diplomatic staff and individuals at risk were airlifted from Kabul by the RAF in August (Picture: PA)

The charity’s lead doctor Jill O’Leary said the Home Office had a ‘blind spot when it comes to vulnerability’.

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Health charity Medcat also expressed concerns with the provisions for ‘destitute’ asylum seekers.

A spokesperson said: ‘Arrangements by the Home Office and its contractors to house those waiting in interim publicly funded accommodation are medically dangerous.’

DULLES, VIRGINIA - AUGUST 27: An Afghan boy gives a thumbs-up after arriving at Dulles International Airport following evacuation from Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan August 27, 2021 in Dulles, Virginia. Refugees continued to arrive in the United States one day after twin suicide bombings at the gates of the airport in Kabul killed 13 U.S. military service members and nearly 100 Afghans. ???We will not forgive,??? President Joe Biden warned ISIS, who claimed responsibility for the attacks. ???We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.??? (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The government spoke of its desire to give resettled children and young adults ‘the best start in life’ (Picture: Getty)

In Greenwich, London, the council said nearly 700 Afghans have been resettled locally and slammed the ‘reprehensible’ lack of clarity about what would happen to them once their quarantine period ended.  

Deputy leader Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald said on September 9: ‘Having been through hell, the government continues to fail Afghan refugees.

‘These are people who have experienced unimaginable trauma, sleepless nights, and fear for their family members back home.

Elevated view over London city Canary Wharf skyline at sunset
Greenwich took in nearly 700 refugees from Afghanistan (Picture: Getty)

‘They now have the additional worry of not knowing where they will be sent next. The lack of basic leadership from the government is putting people’s lives at risk.’

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: ‘The UK’s biggest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history helped over 15,000 people to safety, and hotels remain a temporary measure to help accommodate those we brought here.

‘It is going to take time to find permanent homes for everyone but we are working urgently with our partners to do so.

‘Our aim is to support everyone who is resettled here to build a successful life in the UK, and that is why we work around the clock to provide wrap-around support to families. This includes working closely with local authorities across the UK to ensure everyone temporarily accommodated in hotels has access to essential provisions, healthcare, education and universal credit.’

MORE : Taliban ‘demands billions in reparations from UK and other countries for war’

MORE : UK in talks with Taliban over more evacuations after last US soldiers withdraw

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