We at Say It Loud Club are heartbroken watching the situation in Afghanistan as people desperately try to find ways to escape the country and find safety. As a community of refugees and asylum seekers, we know how it feels to have your basic rights taken away from you and to live in fear for your safety.
We are particularly concerned for the safety and welfare of the most vulnerable members of Afghan society. Before the recent resurgence of the Taliban, Afghanistan was already a dangerous place to be LGBTQ+. Now, Taliban leaders have already promised the return of the most brutal death penalties for anyone found to be LGBTQ+.
As droves of LGBTQ+ Afghans desperately try to flee the horrors that await them, the world must accept shared responsibility for their plight. Given the UK’s historical involvement in Afghanistan, the UK has an even greater obligation to support Afghan citizens in need of safety.
The UK government must:
Urgently offer safe passage and asylum for all LGBTQ+ people living in Afghanistan
Immediately suspend all deportations from the UK to Afghanistan
Confirm that no Afghan asylum seekers will have their claim ruled inadmissible based on the way they have arrived in the UK
Amend family reunification rules to allow family members in Afghanistan to join those already settled here in the UK
With land borders controlled by Taliban forces, and an impending withdrawal of overseas military personnel, the window for Afghans to safely flee the country is closing quickly.
Time to rethink the UK’s wider approach to asylum
The unfolding crisis in Afghanistan serves as an important reminder of how refugees and asylum seekers are forced to escape violence and persecution through any means possible.
Afghanistan is just one of so many countries where people have been robbed of basic human rights, and where the situation for LGBTQ+ people is particularly horrific. In crises when people are forced to flee in an instant, applying for asylum through government resettlement programmes, or by travelling to the UK by plane, is usually not an option.
However, if this government passes its Nationality & Borders Bill, then desperate people claiming asylum from countries like Afghanistan will be detained, punished, and deported. This is despite the UN Refugee Convention guaranteeing the right to claim asylum regardless of how they arrive in the UK.
We know that the British people share our belief in an open, fair and compassionate Britain and do not want to see our government turning its back on the most desperate and vulnerable people arriving here seeking safety.
The UK government must immediately withdraw the Nationality & Borders Bill and work with grassroots organisations like ours to rebuild an asylum system that actually works and upholds the values of fairness and compassion.
Our community, united
The Say It Loud Club community stands ready to welcome all LGBTQ+ people arriving in the UK and seeking asylum from Afghanistan and every other country where their rights have been violated.
We call upon the British public, including the LGBTQ+ community, to work together with us in welcoming all asylum seekers and refugees, and to build a better asylum system that works for everyone in need of safety.