UK Government urged not to abandon Afghan interpreters as poll reveals public support for asylum bid

Last updated May 7, 2013Press release

Refugee Action, a leading refugee charity, is today urging the UK Government to provide a humanitarian assistance programme to support the relocation and resettlement of Afghan interpreters.

Having worked with Iraqi nationals to help them build new lives in the UK, charity Refugee Action says it’s ready to help Afghan interpreters, and their immediate family, to adjust to their new lives in Britain.

The call comes as a YouGov poll reveals that the British public believe the UK should offer asylum to Afghan interpreters who worked for British troops on the front line.

According to the poll, commissioned by think tank British Future, sixty per cent of those expressing a view on the issue believe that Britain has a responsibility to offer protection. Only four out of ten oppose the call.

Refugee Action Chief Executive, Dave Garratt, said: “The results of the poll reveal a clear divide between the UK Government’s reluctance to relocate Afghan interpreters to the UK and broad British public opinion in favour of their resettlement. We must not abandon people whose lives are in grave danger from persecution, as in the experience of Afghan interpreters who worked on the front line with British forces, who now live constant fear of reprisals from the Taliban.

“Like all individuals seeking asylum in the UK, Afghan interpreters deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We call for a fully-funded support programme to aid the relocation, resettlement and successful integration of Afghan interpreters and their immediate family members in the UK”.

Over 80,000 people have so far signed a petition organised by campaign Avaaz calling on the British Government to grant asylum to the interpreters.

Rafi, an Afghan interpreter who was granted refugee status on appeal after his initial claim for asylum was rejected by the UK Border Agency last October, said:

`The UK Government must urgently carry out its duty of care to Afghan interpreters who have helped the British armed forces in the war against terror’.

Britain is currently out of step with its allied-NATO partners who have offered relocation assistance and protection for their interpreters including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.

Full details of the poll breakdown are published on the YouGov website.

ENDS

For more information, images and interviews please contact Press and PR Officer, Antony Watson, on 020 7952 1530 / 07771 748159 or email antonyw@refugee-action.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

  • Refugee Action is a national charity working to enable refugees to build new lives in the UK. We provide practical advice and assistance for newly arrived asylum seekers and long-term commitment to their settlement through community development work. As one of the country’s leading agencies in the field, Refugee Action has 30 year’ experience in pioneering innovative work in partnership with refugees so that they can achieve their full potential. For more information, please visit: www.refugee-action.org.uk