May 26, 2022

Charity Open Doors heard from an Afghan woman named Zabi. Her father was taken away, tortured and killed. A few months later, her brother was taken away and never seen or heard of again. Zabi and her mother fled to other countries after the Taliban took over and survived amid complete uncertainty – the possibility of returning to a state where women do not have social, financial or legal autonomy. Their crime? Zabi and his family are Christians.

Afghanistan is now on the Open Doors World Watch List, the world’s most dangerous place for Christians. The Taliban’s rapid takeover last year has sparked a new wave of fear for Afghanistan’s domestic churches, where people meet in private and worship in secret. The Taliban are working to “eliminate” proselytizers. Christian men are almost always killed. Christian women and girls are given as booty to Taliban fighters to use as they please. Christians are considered traitors and enemies of the state.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, which defends the right to religious freedom for all religions, has made “disturbing and credible allegations of house-to-house searches, executions, forced marriages, enforced disappearances and killings of members of ethnic minority communities.” Reported

It is natural that my heart breaks for my Afghan Christian brothers and sisters who have been brutally persecuted for their beliefs. But they are just one of the many persecuted religious communities in Afghanistan facing a fresh wave of persecution. Uyghur – Both the Taliban and the Chinese fear extradition. Hazara Muslims – a historically oppressed group. Ahmadis, Shiites and Ismaili Muslims, Jains, Hindus and Sikhs are all heretics and heretics. Everyone faces a terrible and uncertain future.

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In October last year, two suicide bombings targeted Shiite mosques, killing more than 50 people. Not to mention the many other groups of people who are terribly vulnerable to the Taliban for their lives, including LGBTQ + individuals and women. The terrorism and immediate threat to religious minorities in Afghanistan is unimaginable.

The UK must bear some responsibility for this chaos. The sudden withdrawal of technical and practical assistance from the West last year created a power vacuum for the Taliban. Of course, the UK must respond with international aid interventions and strong diplomacy. But the most practical and immediate way the UK can accept this responsibility is through a broad and generous refugee resettlement scheme – especially for vulnerable minorities.

The Afghan Resettlement Scheme, which began this year, is a good thing, but the government has recently confirmed that the first year’s quota is almost full – mostly those who were evicted in August last year and So they are already in the UK. Until the second year of the scheme, in January 2023, work will be done with international partners to welcome endangered minorities. There is already a great need for it in Afghanistan. While the UK is reluctant to take in more refugees, the food crisis is deepening and winter is approaching. Haste is life or death.

We need to help those who remain in Afghanistan, but we must also acknowledge that some people will make their way to the UK – it is not safe for them to win the lottery somewhere on the resettlement scheme. wait. For religious minorities, stay means a life of constant terror and death, so many people have no choice but to flee.

One of the issues currently being considered in Parliament for the Nationality and Borders Bill is that it will make a difference in how refugees are treated. The deserving and the undeserving are arranged purely on how they reach our shores.

So, for example, if an Afghan Christian risked a great voyage on foot and dinghy to the shores of Britain, then surely the knowledge of Britain’s reputation as a refuge for people of all faiths. In, they will be rated. In ‘Group 2’. ‘Group 2’ are undeserving refugees. Unworthy just because they arrived in a world of despair through these ‘irregular paths’. They are left in the lurch of temporary leave, have no access to family reunification, and no recourse to public funds.

I am proud of my reputation for upholding human rights and religious freedom in the UK – a place where people know they will be safe. But I am ashamed that the current government is willing to tarnish its image in order to evade our international obligations to refugees.

After all, the people who suffer the most are running away from situations we can’t even imagine. This includes those who dare to adhere to their religious beliefs in Afghanistan, risking their lives, the lives of their families and the survival of their community.

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