“I don’t think anyone who has seen the terrible scenes unfolding in Afghanistan this week could be anything but upset or distressed. The pictures of families in sheer terror as they face the prospect of once again living under the Taliban, whose previous brutal regime we should remember, had denied women even basic rights, and had fostered the Al-Qaeda terrorist network that killed thousands of innocent people across the world.
The Afghan people had been given hope for a better future by the U.K. and US and must now feel utterly betrayed and abandoned, As a result of the decision to withdraw the US and U.K. presence entirely and in such a badly planned manner, has allowed the Taliban regime to regain control of Afghanistan and it will no doubt now look to impose its oppressive rule once again.
As the first City of Sanctuary in Wales, Swansea will once again step up to play its part, along with councils across Wales and the Welsh Government. We will offer safety and refuge for some of the people now forced to leave Afghanistan or face persecution or even execution.
Swansea, in its tenth year as Wales first City of Sanctuary, has a proud tradition of welcoming people who flee conflict and persecution and has welcomed families from a number of countries in recent years including Syria, Iran and Iraq.
We initially responded some weeks ago to a request from U.K. Government (this was prior to the current humanitarian crisis) and confirmed we would support the Afghan refugee resettlement scheme. As a result we will be welcoming three families from Afghanistan this month.
Clearly the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated dramatically since then and we have made it clear we will do all we can to support further refugees in the coming weeks and months, including those Afghans who have supported and assisted our brave service men and women during their time in Afghanistan.
For those who may question why we are helping I want to make it clear this will NOT be instead of our continued efforts to provide homes for people who live in Swansea or for people who are homeless. It will be in addition to these efforts.
Our commitment to continue to build more affordable homes and more social housing for the people of Swansea will continue
Our ‘always a bed’ pledge which ensures any homeless person requesting a safe place to sleep or support to find a place to live will be given assistance in Swansea will remain.”
Statement from Swansea Labour Group Leader, Cllr. Rob Stewart