The Scottish Government has been urged by the Scottish Greens to use its Humanitarian Emergency Fund to aid Afghans fleeing the Taliban.
The Humanitarian Emergency Fund was established in 2016 to provide effective assistance to reduce the threat to life and wellbeing in emergency situations.
In a letter to External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson, Scottish Greens international development spokesperson Maggie Chapman and external affairs spokesperson Ross Greer call for government to “consider how emergency funding could be deployed to assist the people of Afghanistan and those who have been forced to flee.”
Commenting, Maggie Chapman said: “The pictures and stories coming out of Afghanistan are heart-breaking. We must open our hearts and our doors to those who need safety, and the Scottish Greens endorse the First Minister’s call for the UK Government should accept more refugees.
“It’s clear the Scottish Government must do all it can to help these people who are fleeing for their lives, so while immigration is reserved, the Scottish Government could utilise its Humanitarian Emergency Fund. It is hard to envisage a circumstance more sadly fitting of its criteria.”
We are writing in regard to the current situation in Afghanistan and the plight of those Afghans seeking refuge outside of the country. The First Minister’s statement that the Scottish Government stands ready to do all it can to support those in peril is welcome and we strongly endorse her calls on the UK Government to accept a greater number of Afghans who wish to seek refuge here.
However, we believe there is one action which can be taken by the Scottish Government without the need to wait for a change of UK policy.
The Humanitarian Emergency Fund has played an important role in disaster relief since its inception in 2016 and it is hard to envisage a circumstance more sadly fitting of its criteria. Therefore, we propose that you ask the HEF panel to immediately convene, to consider how emergency funding could be deployed to assist the people of Afghanistan and those who have been forced to flee.
Not only would this funding allow partner organisations to continue and expand their life-saving work at this critical moment, it would provide a strong signal to the many thousands of people across Scotland who want to help but are not currently sure how, or who they should donate to.
Yours in solidarity,
Maggie Chapman MSP & Ross Greer MSP
Spokespeople for International Development and External Affairs Scottish Green Party