The situation unfolding in Afghanistan is a humanitarian tragedy which we here in Britain must help to alleviate.
Nobody chooses to be a refugee. No Afghan seeking asylum today has chosen this. What we can choose is how we respond. And we at Freedom from Torture will always respond with compassion and humanity.
Over the past 20 years, a steady flow of Afghans have come through the doors of Freedom from Torture for help. Many were barely 18 years old when they ended up in the UK; a place of safety. Nearly all of them have suffered torture and persecution at the hands of the Taliban.
These young people we see have brought with them terrible traumas. For years, we have provided psychological therapy and legal and welfare support to those with post-traumatic stress disorder and other enduring mental health issues. Our doctors also provide careful forensic reports of their injuries for their asylum claim.
As the planes from Afghanistan touch down in the UK, we are gearing up to provide rehabilitation and medical reports for Afghan torture survivors who will be rebuilding their lives here.
The scenes from Afghanistan have revealed to the world the terrifying reality of what it means to flee. When your life is on the line, there is little you won’t do to get yourself and your loved ones to safety.
Yet Home Secretary Priti Patel’s Anti-Refugee Bill would criminalise Afghans running for their lives who reach our shores on their own.
The reality is that applying for safety via a resettlement scheme can take months, even years. Very few Afghan torture survivors have that luxury. They need our help right now.
We are heartened by the outpouring of public support for the plight of Afghans at risk of torture and persecution from the Taliban and demands for our government to provide more help.
As proud members of the Together with Refugees coalition, we are calling for the Anti-Refugee Bill to be scrapped , an increase in resettlement places and a more compassionate and fair asylum system in the UK.