RefugePoint’s Support for Afghan Refugees
RefugePoint has been helping Afghan refugees to resettle to countries where they can rebuild their lives in safety since 2014. Following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, we have been scaling up our workforce to increase our support for at-risk Afghans and other organizations helping those who have fled the militants. You will find frequent updates about our work supporting Afghan refugees below.
Photo: Gh. M. Hazraty
September 2, 2021
We’re deploying Resettlement Experts and Child Protection Experts to support Afghan refugees
RefugePoint is deploying a new team of staff to assist in the resettlement process for Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban. We have identified five experienced Resettlement Experts and two Child Protection Experts to support ongoing efforts in a number of countries. These staff members, along with likely additions as we move forward, will be placed in strategic locations to provide emergency resettlement support and assistance for underserved individuals.
We have also identified needs for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) training for lawyers and other staff assisting incoming Afghan refugees. RefugePoint will be providing training, resources, and tools to individuals outside of our organization to better support arriving Afghans.
August 25, 2021
RefugePoint is scaling up our workforce to help more at-risk Afghans to resettle to safe countries
Conditions for our Afghan allies and other at-risk individuals continue to deteriorate. Evacuations have increased in scope this week, yet thousands of Afghans are still trapped in Kabul and other cities. The U.S. must continue evacuating those in need for as long as possible and ensure they find sustainable refuge in a safe country.
Right now, RefugePoint is scaling up our workforce to address this urgent crisis. We are deploying staff to various strategic locations to complement our existing efforts in 23 countries worldwide. Our goal is to help Afghan refugees, including unaccompanied children, reunite with their families and resettle to countries where they can rebuild their lives in safety.
We are working with governments, including our own, to help them meet their resettlement commitments. Refugees from Afghanistan are being evacuated to countries all over the world, where they will need support for onward resettlement processing to the US and other countries. Many of them will need counseling, and the staff working with them will need training on trauma-informed interviewing and other techniques, a role we are uniquely qualified for, having developed robust mental health programming in recent years. Our support for Afghans continues to expand as the situation progresses.
As thousands of Afghans flee the Taliban, they need all the support possible to reach safety. RefugePoint is mobilizing staff around the world to help them resettle to safe countries and to provide long-term solutions for refugees in host countries. Please consider supporting Afghan and other refugees today.
Circumstances for our Afghan allies and other at-risk individuals are changing rapidly. We’ll keep you updated as our support adapts to the growing needs.
August 24, 2021
Reuniting Afghan Families Amid Crisis
*Image does not depict characters in this story.
RefugePoint has around 40 staff working in sensitive and precarious situations across Africa and the Middle East, some of which are currently supporting Afghan refugees to resettle to safe countries. One of those staff members recently began working on a case of two unaccompanied children who fled Afghanistan with their mother after the Taliban killed their father.* While attempting to cross the border to escape Afghanistan, they became separated in a great crowd of people fleeing. Amid the chaos, the children were ushered across the border by other refugees who assured them that they would rejoin their mother on the other side. Tragically, their mother did not make it across and the children have not seen or heard from her in over a year.
The young children were forced to navigate a new, foreign country on their own. They were eventually registered as refugees and identified for resettlement, which is where our Expert first came into contact with the kids. RefugePoint has a number of Child Protection Experts based in the country to which the siblings fled. Our staff member has been working to reunite the children with family in a safe country.
Fortunately, the children had a relative living in a safe country with whom they could live with. Our Child Protection Expert has started the formal reunification process for them and is working to move the case along as quickly as possible. This relative had also searched in vain for their mother. Our staff member has similarly had no luck in tracking her down, despite consistent effort through numerous methods.
The plight of unaccompanied refugee minors is an extremely grave concern, which is why we prioritize these individuals in all of our casework. Young girls in particular are at risk of forced marriage, child pregnancy, abduction, and other protection concerns. The RefugePoint staff member working on this case has many years of child protection experience, having worked across multiple continents to help unaccompanied children similar to these two. Our team is hopeful that these children will soon find a loving home in a safe country with their relative and may one day reunite with their mother.
Cases like these are becoming increasingly common as more Afghans flee the country. Our staff are located in a number of nearby countries working to help Afghan refugees access resettlement and other solutions. Given the dire situation in Afghanistan, RefugePoint expects to expand these efforts in the coming weeks and months.
*For the safety of our staff and clients, we have redacted details that could put them at risk.
August 21, 2021
One Refugee’s Flight from Afghanistan
Photo : M. Shoaib Sharify
RefugePoint has many staff working around the world, in situations that are sometimes dangerous and often confidential due to security concerns*, to help Afghan and other refugees resettle to the U.S. and other countries where they can rebuild their lives safely.
This is the story of one RefugePoint staff member’s experience supporting an Afghan refugee.
He is a father who worked with the U.S. Government in Afghanistan. He is married and has two young children. When the Taliban learned that this father worked for the U.S. military, they came after him. He managed to escape the country but wasn’t able to bring his wife and young kids with him.
As is the case for so many who flee their home, this father wound up in a dangerous place where he faced ongoing threats. RefugePoint’s Resettlement Expert met with him on multiple occasions, provided him with counseling and support, and helped him resettle to a country where he can rebuild his life safely.
Upon arrival in his new home, he filed family reunification documents for his wife and children. Their documents were finally processed and the application was accepted. The family was on the brink of relocating to join him when the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban took control. Now his wife and children are stuck. It’s unclear at this point if or when they might be able to escape and reunite with the father.
Many Afghan families are separated just like this one. In addition to helping individuals in life-threatening situations like this father, RefugePoint has also built a family reunification program to reunite unaccompanied children with parents and get families back together. We’ve done this in collaboration with the International Refugee Assistance Project and the UN Refugee Agency. We have staff in a number of locations around the world working to help Afghan refugees resettle to countries where they can rebuild their lives, and we’ve focused particularly on unaccompanied children. In response to this emergency, we are currently expanding our efforts to help Afghan refugees relocate to safety.
*For the safety of our staff and clients, we have redacted details that could put them at risk.
August 17, 2021
The U.S. Government Must Act Now to Protect At-Risk Afghans
As the Taliban assert control in Afghanistan, RefugePoint urges the U.S. government to take all action necessary to save the lives of the many thousands of Afghans who worked with U.S. forces, U.S. affiliated non-governmental organizations, and media outlets, and to protect others at particular risk such as human rights defenders, women and girls, LGBTQIA+ people, and others who have been targeted.
Some of these Afghans can potentially relocate to the U.S. through the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program, Humanitarian Parole, and a new U.S. resettlement category for certain refugees from Afghanistan. The U.S. must act with the utmost urgency to increase the pace of these pathways to safety, which are insufficient, too narrow, and slow to address the emergency needs brought on by the U.S. withdrawal.
RefugePoint staff are helping refugees from Afghanistan who have already fled the country to resettle to the U.S., Canada, and the European Union. Our focus has been on unaccompanied children, reuniting families, and those in immediate danger.
The long-term conflict in Afghanistan has already led to 2.8 million refugees. Some have been refugees for 40 years and have seen a third generation born into exile. The crisis of displacement in Afghanistan is one of the largest and most protracted in recent history.
In this moment of peril, relocation to the U.S. is necessary to save lives now. But, for the vast majority of Afghan refugees stuck for decades in Pakistan, Iran, and nearby countries, opportunities to become self-reliant must be another matter of operational urgency for the global community.
While we resettle those in life-threatening situations, RefugePoint is also working to create new opportunities for self-reliance for Afghan and other refugees around the world so that they can rebuild their lives in dignity.
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