EU states accused of “staggering neglect” for resettling only 271 people from Afghanistan in 2022

European Union (EU) states only resettled 271 people from Afghanistan in 2022, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has revealed.

With more than 1.6 million people leaving Afghanistan since the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, the IRC says EU states granted asylum to just 0.1 per cent of the 270,000 they had promised.

Germany, the IRC says, resettled “not a single person” under a scheme established in October 2022, which promised to bring 1,000 people per month. And under Italy’s scheme, announced in November 2021, only half the promised number arrived.

Some EU member states, the IRC says, have only resettled between 15 to 20 Afghan citizens since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban.

“Many Afghans remain trapped in remote and prison-like facilities on Greek islands preventing inclusion into local communities and devastating their mental health.” The IRC says. Adding that 92% of people it supports suffers from anxiety and 92% from depression.

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David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC laments the EU states. He says:

“This report highlights staggering neglect of Afghans by the member states of the European Union, which puts them at risk at every step of their journeys in search of protection. While some states’ well-intentioned plans to bring Afghans to safety have hit repeated delays and obstacles, other countries have failed to make any pledges at all, or to guarantee adequate protection and inclusion for the tiny proportion of Afghan refugees who manage to reach Europe.

“This August will mark two years since the shift in power in Afghanistan. If EU states are serious about protecting Afghans, they need to urgently scale up safe pathways to Europe, and receive all Afghans seeking protection with dignity regardless of how they arrive on its territory. The EU’s response to more than 8 million people fleeing Ukraine proves that Europe is capable of welcoming refugees in a humane, dignified way. There is simply no excuse for treating Afghans, and refugees forced from their homes elsewhere, any differently. This report provides a concrete roadmap for how Europe can make this a reality and provide a lifeline to thousands of Afghans in a step with its own values and its true capacity to welcome.”

Outside the EU, the UK has long been criticised for the failure of its resettlement programmes.