Norfolk ready to help resettle Afghan refugees
- Credit: Ashna Shinwari
The county council is ready to play a role in Afghans being resettled in Norfolk following the fall of the capital Kabul to the Taliban.
With the government announcing a resettlement scheme to help people escape Afghanistan, as many as 5,000 refugees are expected to be offered the chance to set up life in the UK within the first year.
Norfolk County Council was one of the first councils in the country to offer assistance with the project.
Under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy [ARAP], launched on April 1, Norfolk was expecting to initially resettle 50 individuals, 19 of whom have arrived in the county since the end of July.
But the new figure announced by the government and the events unfolding in Afghanistan are set to change this figure.
Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council's deputy leader, said: "The county council, along with Norfolk’s supportive districts and boroughs, were among the first councils in the country to volunteer to assist the government’s scheme to support Afghan interpreters coming to the UK, and are already supporting a number of Afghans interpreters in the county with more expected over the coming weeks.
"Following the prime minister’s announcement to the Commons and in light of the events unfolding in Afghanistan over the past week, we are ready to offer further support and are currently awaiting more details from the Home Office on how the government’s policy will be enacted.”
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Ed Maxfield, county councillor for the Mundesley Division and leader of the Independent group, has called on the county council to set out clear plans to assist those people exposed to personal danger and loss of human rights.
He said: "I appreciate it is a fast moving situation but every part of the British state has a responsibility to act urgently to mitigate the crisis."
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Priority will be given to women and girls, and religious and other minorities, who are most at risk of human rights abuses and dehumanising treatment by the Taliban.
Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at the county council said: "Norfolk Labour councillors will fully support helping refugees and those fleeing persecution for working with our forces in Afghanistan. It is the right thing to do and the least we can do."
Private sector leasing teams in the housing departments at Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk Councils will provide the settlement for the refugees.
Landlords willing to lease properties in the Greater Norwich area to house refugees should contact 01603 989444 or email@example.com.