In response to recent reports that the Government is not going to offer resettlement rights to Afghan interpreters, in the same way rights were offered to Iraqi interpreters, Labour stepped up calls for those who have risked their lives to support UK Forces to be properly protected.
Labour is calling for settlement rights for Afghan interpreters who have served with British forces.
Shadow Defence Secretary Rt Hon Jim Murphy said:
“This is not only right it’s necessary. Afghan interpreters stand by us and we should stand by them.
“Those who risk their lives to help UK soldiers in a mission to protect UK national security deserve to right to settle in our country.
“Interpreters stand shoulder to shoulder with our service personnel and in doing so stand in solidarity with our national interest. They will be welcome in our local communities.
“Interpreters help save lives in Afghanistan and we should help them start a new life here in the UK. We must do what we can to support and protect them and their brave families, and this would be an important step.”
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said:
“We owe a debt to those Afghans who have worked alongside our soldiers, some of whom have been injured in roadside bombs or gunfire. In some instances interpreters have faced threats from the Taliban against them and their families, and as we begin leaving Afghanistan we cannot leave behind people who risked their lives to help Britain and now face threats from the Taliban.
“I am calling on the Home Secretary to support a scheme that provides settlement to Afghans who have worked alongside our servicemen and women. Like the settlement programme agreed for Iraqi staff and their dependents under the last Government, it should ensure the Afghan staff are helped to settle and are not subject to the long waits and employment bans currently in place.
“Examples of Afghan interpreters injured on the frontline, and then waiting two years in asylum queues, or even rejected, while worrying about Taliban threats to their families are unacceptable. Our allies do not treat those who work for them in this way, and neither should Britain. If someone fears for their family’s safety as a result of working with British troops, and helping to fight for Britain’s long-term security, we should act.”