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REFUGEE SUPPORT: North East councils vow to provide a “safer future”


Refugees fleeing Afghanistan are being promised a “safer future” in the North East.

North East councils have vowed to provide a “safer future” for refugees fleeing the crisis in Afghanistan.

This comes after the Taliban swept through its capital Kabul reclaiming total control of the country.

The violence associated with the takeover has left a huge number of families internally displaced, having fled their homes in the face of the conflict.

And it puts thousands of lives at risk in the country, in particular those of women and girls, who face a massive loss of rights and freedoms, as well as anyone who has supported Western forces in the country.

A Newcastle City Council spokesman said the city “stands ready to play its part” in providing a safe haven for those escaping the violence.

He said: “It has been devastating to see the recent developments in Afghanistan unfold, it is almost impossible for us to imagine the plight and suffering of people desperately seeking to flee their homes.

“We are keen to hear the Government’s plans to extend resettlement support to refugees fleeing Afghanistan and Newcastle stands ready to play its part.

“Newcastle is a safe and welcoming place, we’re proud to be a City of Sanctuary with a track record of helping people rebuild their lives here. We are ready to build on the support we’ve provided to Afghan interpreters who worked for the British Army, to give those currently at risk a better and safer future in our city.”

This was echoed by Northumberland County Council who said the authority would initially provide a new home to three families.

A spokesman said: “Northumberland has a long history of supporting those in need from other countries and prior to the current situation in Afghanistan we agreed to the Government’s request to support their Afghan Local Employed Staff (LES) resettlement proposals.

“We are initially looking to support three families in the near future, with a further three families to follow later in the year.

“We will also review options to either accelerate or increase our support as necessary.”

Gordon Elliott, Durham County Council’s head of partnerships and community engagement, also said his authority would be providing assistance.

He continued: “We can confirm that as with councils across the country we have been approached by the government about the resettlement of families from Afghanistan.

“In line with our commitment to offering humanitarian support to appropriate numbers of vulnerable individuals through the government-funded UK Resettlement Scheme, we are assisting with this emergency situation.”

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet secretary, Coun Paul Stewart, said:”The city council and the people of Sunderland have always worked closely with national authorities on refugee and asylum dispersal schemes, and will do so again with Afghan nationals.”

Meanwhile, Gateshead Council has already began welcoming people from Afghanistan.

A spokesman said: “We have a team of people in Gateshead dedicated to supporting and integrating refugees.

“We work with the North East Migration Partnership to help deliver the Government’s Resettlement programmes here in the region.

“Via this partnership Gateshead has been communicating with the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office to respond to the crisis in Afghanistan. In the past month we have welcomed a number of families and individuals from Afghanistan and going forward we will support more people.”

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