Time is running out for evacuation of Community Activists from Kabul.
Over 100 known community activists are currently in hiding and at risk in Kabul. MPs and the British & Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG) are calling for their urgent evacuation.
The list includes members of civil society and activists who are now targets of the Taliban. Within their number are influential figures in the peace process and leaders and staff of NGOs promoting the rights of marginalised groups. Many are now in hiding and some have had family members threatened and their documents seized and destroyed.
These are people who have worked in capacities that have attracted negative views from the Taliban by furthering UK Government objectives, either directly or indirectly, and fighting for the rights of women, minorities and those with disabilities.
Many of those now in hiding built their profiles as delegates to conferences all over the world on behalf of groups like BAAG, who have received funding from the UK Government for many years.
Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney & Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Charities, said:
“I welcome the Foreign Secretary’s commitment to evacuation of ‘women’s rights defenders’ and call on him now to urgently respond to the list of community activists and members of civil society provided by British & Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group.
“These are people who have put themselves at great personal risks to fight for the rights of others and to work towards the aims of the UK Government, either directly or indirectly.
“I have asked for a plan for evacuating these people, many of whom are now in hiding and have had their documentation destroyed.
“Time is running out and we must do everything we can to support those activists who want to leave the country.”
Elizabeth Winter, Executive Director of British & Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG), said:
“These people have formed the backbone of the now vibrant Afghan civil society, often at great personal cost, and I have known many of them for ten and twenty years.
“We are very concerned for the safety of Afghan colleagues and partners and disturbed by reports that atrocities against civil society activists are both being threatened and are taking place. We welcome the new scheme for special cases and we hope that priority can now be given to their evacuation.”
Note to editors:
– For more information about the community activists please call Elizabeth Winter, Executive Director of the British and Irish Agencies Group on: +44 (0) 7713 861075, or email: email@example.com.
– For further comment from Fleur Anderson MP please call: 07947 343 662 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.