LONDON: UK Home Secretary Priti Patel is facing renewed pressure from members of her own party over the failure of an Afghan resettlement program that only opened three months after it was launched.
It comes as a debate rages in the UK earlier this week over the deaths of 27 migrants in the English Channel.
Several Conservative MPs privately called for Patel to take action on the resettlement program for Afghan citizens, The Guardian reported.
They said the UK government’s inaction puts Afghans at “mortal risk” and surrenders vulnerable targets in the country to the Taliban.
Damian Green, the former immigration minister, has called for a new approach to migration that is “realistic and compassionate”.
In an opinion piece, he criticized the “guilt game” between Britain and France over the dead at sea and called on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron to work together to resolve the crisis.
He said, “Now is not the time to show wounded Amour in both languages. Careless speaking costs lives. “
Afghans are well represented in the group of migrants on the French coast trying to travel to the UK. Government critics in the UK have argued that opening legal entry routes would help prevent deaths at sea.
Rory Stewart, former secretary for international development, said the problems surrounding the Afghan resettlement program were “negotiable,” but the ability to help vulnerable people was disappearing.
“We have a narrow window to get people out. At the moment, strangely enough, the Taliban are ready to let people out. That won’t be true forever. It is very likely that at some point they will take more drastic measures.
“We have a deep moral obligation. These people, who are deeply vulnerable, were told that they would be helped. It’s just amazing they didn’t. This type of program is actually a great alternative to those dangerous, unplanned routes. It’s sure to move people, but it’s also the way to make sure the most vulnerable are given priority. “
An opinion poll found that only 18 percent of voters believed Patel is effectively managing the migrant crisis. In the opposite camp, 62 percent believed that they were doing it “badly” or “very badly”.
Caroline Nokes, former Conservative Immigration Minister, said: “This program needs to be up and running. Afghans here with families still in Afghanistan gave hope when the program was announced, but they are desperate that the time is running out to get their family members to safety. “
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said, “We support everyone in stopping illegal immigration, but these other routes are key to getting things right. This must be openly and resolved, especially because of Afghanistan and the obligations to the people there. That shows this week. “
The Law Society has warned that attorneys and judges who have worked in the persecution of Taliban members for the past decade “are all still targets in Afghanistan”.
Marina Brilman, the company’s international human rights advisor, said the program may not be ready by the end of the year.
She added: “Most of the judges, prosecutors and attorneys who have helped consolidate the rule of law in Afghanistan are Afghan nationals. They never made it on the UK government’s evacuation list. When the last British flight left Kabul Airport, they were stranded. Especially women.
“They’re sending us desperate calls for help and handwritten death threats killing them and their families. They are constantly relocating houses and even provinces to escape the violence. House searches by the Taliban continue, as do extrajudicial killings and public beatings. Of course, setting up this system is a huge undertaking.
“But it shouldn’t even be three and a half months before it’s even open for applications. It begs the question of what priority this is for the UK government. “
However, a government spokesman defended the introduction of the program.
“We carried out the UK’s largest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history and brought more than 15,000 people from Afghanistan to safety, which we continue to support.
“ACRS is one of the most generous programs in our country’s history and will bring new life to up to 20,000 more people at risk in the UK. We continue to work flat out to launch the program in the midst of a complex and changing picture, working across governments and with partners like UNHCR to design the program. “