Asylum Seekers (Afghanistan)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 28 April 2022.

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Photo of John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

8. To ask the Scottish Government how many refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan have arrived in Scotland since the Taliban’s return to power in 2021. (S6O-01021)

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

Although that is United Kingdom Government reserved policy, Scotland is committed to playing its part in welcoming people who are fleeing Afghanistan. All 32 local authorities have confirmed their participation in relocation and resettlement schemes.

Afghans are being welcomed into Scottish communities. As of 14 April, 119 families, with more than 480 people, have been resettled in 20 local authorities, and there are six Home Office-procured bridging hotels that are accommodating approximately 350 people. We expect more people to arrive in the coming months.

Photo of John Mason John Mason Scottish National Party

Last week, at the cross-party group on freedom of religion or belief, we heard about the awful situation for minorities in Afghanistan, such as Shia Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. Is the Scottish Government able to put any pressure on or encourage the United Kingdom Government to help minorities in Afghanistan?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

The member raises an important point, as the situation in Afghanistan continues to be extremely concerning, especially for minority groups and women. I raised the issue in a letter to the then Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, on 20 August, and the First Minister raised equality issues in Afghanistan in a letter focused on resettlement to the Prime Minister on 24 August. I followed up with a letter to the Home Secretary on 1 September.

I will write again to the UK Government to press it to do all that it can to support minorities in Afghanistan. The Scottish Government stands ready to help in any way that we can.