Call to Action: Please print and sign petition to support emergency measures to assist people in Afghanistan!
For decades, after risking their lives to help the Canadian Armed Forces, Afghan interpreters, other collaborators, and their extended families were left in a highly precarious situation, being targeted by the Taliban for their relationships with Canada. I was astounded when government’s initial response was to refer them to existing immigration measures. This delay in action just prolonged the threats and further endangered their lives. Canada owes them a debt of gratitude and every effort must be made to bring them to safety swiftly.
Following the withdrawal of American and NATO forces after 20 years of military intervention, we witnessed in horror the Taliban take over Afghanistan this August. Many have fled the country and are seeking asylum, while others have been left behind in an evacuation that started too late and ended too early. The situation in Afghanistan is dire with the economy at the verge of collapse, food shortages on the rise, and a crumbling health-care system.
Eighteen million Afghans – half the country’s population will be impacted by the crisis. There is an urgent need for support to ensure the people of Afghanistan, especially the most vulnerable such as women and girls, children, and minority populations, are protected.
Afghan nationals are desperate to get to safety. It’s not good enough to say that we will accept refugees through the UNHCR when we know that Afghans cannot get to a third country with all the borders closed.
I have called for the government to bring in an emergency immigration measure of utilizing Temporary Residence Permits (TRPs) to help Afghans to get to safety. There is no question that the granting of TRPs should be made with temporary travel documents to all Afghans and their extended family members who have supported the Canadian military. I am also calling on the government to expand the same support to human rights activists in Afghanistan and Afghans with family members in Canada especially for those with family reunification applications still awaiting processing. Furthermore, special recognition needs to be given for women and girls as they cannot travel without a man accompanying them. The government needs to work with advocacy groups in Canada to identify people in Afghanistan and provide them with a TRP and travel document so that can get to a third country.
Additionally, Canada must recognize that under the current environment, Afghans are inhibited from obtaining the necessary travel documents, including a valid Visa. It is essential that the Government of Canada, waive the requirements for documentation at this time. Once they are safely in Canada, we can then work to get the necessary paperwork in order. There is an urgent need for a rapid response, and I am urging the government to do everything possible to ensure Afghans are protected.
A Petition to the House of Commons has been created on this. If you wish to support these measures, please print the following petition, have your family and friends sign and return the original signed copy to my office at 2572 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V5K 1Z3. All mail to MP offices are free.
If you don't have access to a printer, please contact my office and we will mail you a paper copy.