Home Local News Change.org petition from Kay Marsh asks Dover District Council for full help...

Change.org petition from Kay Marsh asks Dover District Council for full help for Afghanistan refugees

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A petition calling on the district council to fully commit to helping Afghan refugees has raised hundred of names.

Exactly 728 people, have by today (Tuesday) supported the online petition,which has a target figure of 1,000, in the five days.

A member of RAF Brize Norton personnel handing out a toy to a child refugee last Thursday. Picture: UK MOD
A member of RAF Brize Norton personnel handing out a toy to a child refugee last Thursday. Picture: UK MOD

TheChange.org’s petition’s open letter also warns that if not enough help is given more people will try arriving by irregular means.

There have long been constant landing on Kent shores by asylum seekers in dinghies.

The letter to Dover District Council from Dover resident Kay Marsh asks it to commit to a specific number of refugees it will bring in.

It says: “If we do not do more now to help these people to escape quickly and safely, we will soon see a dramatic increase in people making perilous journeys by irregular means to reach safety, as asylum seekers in Europe and the UK.

“In my professional capacity with a migrant rights charity, and as a dedicated humanitarian activist, I see every day the danger, death and destruction caused by forcing desperate people to make these journeys. We must not let inaction fuel this already desperate situation.

Kay Marsh from the Dover refugee group Samphire.
Kay Marsh from the Dover refugee group Samphire.

“We owe it to these people, as our allies and as our fellow human beings, to do all that we can to offer our support and protection at this critical time.

“We ask you, Dover District Council, to urgently set a solid target of the number of people you plan to help, sending a clear message to the Home Office of your commitment to support.”

There has been a mass exodus from Afghanistan since the brutal Taliban took over the country on August 15.

The UK’s final evacuation flight, purely for civilians, left Afghanistan on Saturday.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today admitted there were still a few hundred UK nationals left in the country.

“We have sat, as a town and looked on in horror at the desperate scenes.” Campaigner Kay Marsh

Ms Marsh also works for refugee support charities such as the Dover-based Samphire and the letter is to DDC leader Trevor Bartlett.

She also wrote: “We have sat, as a town and as a nation, and looked on in horror at the desperate scenes coming from Afghanistan.

“Terrified people, many of whom have spent the last two decades on the front lines, loyally assisting Britain, risking their lives, now find themselves stranded.

“As a town and as a district, we must put pressure on our local government, to follow boroughs like Ashford, Canterbury and others, to prioritise setting targets and making a solid commitment to helping the people who are fleeing this conflict.

“We have a wealth of amazing, capable, dedicated, compassionate people in the district ready to help. Let us all cooperate in offering the safe and welcoming environment I know we can.”

RAF Brize Norton personnel escorting passengers last Thursday from a RAF Voyager aircraft bringing refugees from Afghanistan. Picture: UK MOD
RAF Brize Norton personnel escorting passengers last Thursday from a RAF Voyager aircraft bringing refugees from Afghanistan. Picture: UK MOD

A spokesman for Dover District Council said: “Like everyone, we’ve been shocked at the scenes in Afghanistan.

“Dover District Council stands ready to respond with permanent accommodation in the district for Afghan citizens. We have a track record of offering such support, including housing families from Syria.

“We have responded to the Government’s request for assistance from local authorities and await further guidance from them as the response moves from emergency repatriation to more permanent accommodation options.

“Our housing team will work with private landlords to organise suitable accommodation.

” The council will also work with community and voluntary partners to help with community integration and ongoing support.

A full flight of 265 people, supported by British armed forces, about to leave Afghanistan last week. Picture: UK MOD
A full flight of 265 people, supported by British armed forces, about to leave Afghanistan last week. Picture: UK MOD

The authority added that the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme is being co-ordinated by central Government and we are awaiting further guidance.

The spokesman also said: “At the moment, we do not know the number of people who may come to the district as part of the Resettlement Scheme, or when they are likely to arrive.”

Ashford Borough Council vowed to take on a share of refugees two days after the fall of Kabul.

It was the first district level council in Kent to offer to help and leader Gerry Clarkson said 10 families a year would be brought in, three of who have already arrived.

More than 100 refugees are being housed at the Abbots Barton Hotel in Canterbury.

Long before the present Afghan crisis asylum seekers from several nations have been crossing the English Channel and arriving in Kent.

More than 10,000 have come so far this year with a record 828 on August 22.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

Deal Dover Sandwich Sam Lennon



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