(Photo credit: Reuters)
Western media reports say Canada has accepted a US request to resettle some 1,000 Afghans who were airlifted out of the country last year before being abandoned in a makeshift refugee camp in the UAE.
A reported 5,000 Afghan refugees have been living in the so-called Emirates Humanitarian City in Abu Dhabi since August of 2021, waiting for the US to process their asylum requests.
Canadian officials are reportedly reviewing cases to identify those who meet “Ottawa’s resettlement criteria.” This also marks the first time that Afghans in the facility are being resettled to a country they have no direct ties with, as most of them were US collaborators.
Ottawa is also expected to resettle a further 500 Afghans who do have ties to Canada. The resettlement operation is expected to begin this month and end in October.
But while the US hopes the agreement with Canada will bring the Emirati camp closer to closing, sources that spoke with Reuters say that another 1,000 Afghans out of the 5,000 “are not eligible to be relocated to the United States and would need resettlement elsewhere.”
Thousands of Afghans remain stranded in temporary accommodations and refugee camps over one year after the victory of the Taliban over the US-trained army.
In the UK, only 7,000 Afghan refugees have been rehoused in a year, out of the 20,000 that arrived in the country.
More than 120,000 refugees were airlifted and scattered around the world since the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan last August. Out of these, 76,000 have reached the US.
Afghan refugees have also been the target of racism and double standards by the west; a situation made transparent when compared to the treatment granted to Ukrainian refugees.
In July, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Kenneth Roth, said Europe “has forgotten its commitment to humanity” by openly welcoming millions of Ukrainians while sidelining and mistreating Afghans and Syrians.
“You don’t see Ukrainian refugee camps; they are settled in people’s houses and other places. It can be clearly seen that Europeans treat not only Afghans but also refugees from Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, and other countries differently,” Roth said.