YWCA Statement on Refugee Crisis in Afghanistan
In the past week, the Taliban has invaded Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, overtaking control as the government collapsed. Tens of thousands of our Afghan allies are in imminent danger, as attacks from the Taliban on Afghan nationals who supported the U.S. mission have increased, and violence against Afghan women and children is at an all-time high. Women are especially in fear because the historic repression of women’s rights under Taliban rule.
As we watch what is happening on the world stage in Afghanistan, it is easy to feel helpless. Today, more than ever, I am reminded of the importance of the work we do in supporting refugees as they flee persecution, violence, danger to seek the right to live safely and not in fear. Here is what we currently know about Afghans trying to seek refugee status:
- Over the last month, 20,000 Afghans have applied for a special immigrant visa for those who have helped American forces. (Washington Post)
- Currently, the United States is evacuating approximately 2,500 Afghans. (Washington Post)
- Many applicants are currently in limbo because of barriers, including transportation to the airport in Kabul, cash requirements to pay for their flight ticket, and the long wait time for visa approval.
We are continuing to stay in contact with refugee resettlement agencies, and will know more in the coming weeks as to whether or not any Afghans will be resettled here in Tulsa, although Oklahoma is not one of the current states who will be receiving Afghan refugees. In the meantime, here are ways you can tangibly help support refugees as they seek to flee Afghanistan:
- Donate airline miles, vouchers, or cash to Miles4Migrants.The nonprofit takes donations collected from the public and works with dozens of other nonprofit and government agencies to fulfill individual requests for flights to help people afflicted by conflict and persecution get to safety.
- Contact your representatives and urge them to expand and expedite access to the US Refugee Resettlement Program for Afghan Refugees. Utilize this information from Church World Service Global to craft your messaging.
- Follow @RukhshanaMedia on Twitter and donate to their Crowdsourcing fund. @Ruskshana Media is a journalism group staffed by extremely brave Afghan women who are reporting on what is happening in Afghanistan.
- Take this advice from @Bushra_Ebadi, a Network Coordinator for Amnesty International:
- If you are not an expert on #Afghanistan, have not been keeping up with what has been occurring, and are not directly impacted by what is happening don’t share your unsolicited opinions and takes.
- Instead follow and amplify the voices, work, and initiatives of Afghan activists, leaders, journalists, artists, and researchers.
- Avoid simplistic narratives that paint the situation as an internal dispute between tribes and factions. If you’re not acknowledging the historic and ongoing role of various actors, then you’re contributing to misinformation.
- Help support resettlement efforts, not just with monetary donations but through community support.
For more information about YWCA Tulsa and the work we do to support refugees in our community, please visit our website to learn more.
Our work continues.