The men and women who serve our country live by the code Leave no one behind. Yet today, Canada’s Veterans are struggling with the Government’s inaction to save our Afghan brothers and sisters in arms who have been left to fend for themselves under threat of Taliban retaliation, torture and death.
The Royal Canadian Legion is calling on the Government of Canada to uphold its moral duty to save the lives of our Afghan partners. Read the full letter to the Prime Minister below.
5 November 2021
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Re: Urgent Call to Respond to the Crisis in Afghanistan
Dear Prime Minister:
Canada’s Veterans live by the code Leave no one behind. Yet our Afghan brothers and sisters in arms have been left in Afghanistan under threat of Taliban retaliation, torture and death. Afghan Interpreters and their families not only risked their lives to support the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, but also ensured the safety of our troops. Canadian Armed Forces members who served in Afghanistan are desperate to get their comrades to safety. Our Veterans are determined not to break their moral obligation to help.
The Royal Canadian Legion calls on the Canadian Government to uphold its moral duty to save the lives of our Afghan partners in Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. Leave no one behind. Failing to do so would break the honoured code, violate its duty to those who serve, condemn our partners to brutal retaliation, and will result in mental health repercussions that Canada’s Veterans will struggle with for a long time.
It is time for the Canadian Government to take action now to immediately evacuate vulnerable Afghans to a safe place, where further security vetting can be done if needed. The Veteran community has banded together with Canadians in a frantic mission to evacuate Afghan Interpreters and civilians. The Government must step up and make this mission happen.
Leave no one behind. Save lives and protect those most at risk - Afghan Interpreters, women activists, LGBTQ2+ people, members of ethnic minorities, journalists, disability rights activists and human rights defenders, and their families both within Afghanistan, in border regions, and along asylum routes. We implore you to:
- Provide emergency funding for safe houses, protection and security, digital security, and basic needs.
- Immediately evacuate vulnerable Afghans to a safe zone for further security screening using established organizations who can work with Afghan organizations to deliver on this mission.
- Streamline communications and processes to provide Afghans with clear eligibility criteria, and work with partner organizations in Afghanistan to ensure that those who meet the eligibility criteria can be quickly identified and processed.
- Provide personnel and additional resources, special immigration measures, relocation assistance, and any needed supports to accelerate the pace of resettlement to meet the urgency and alarming conditions of the current situation, aiming to achieve the 40,000 Afghan refugee target within one year.
- Assign Afghan refugees prima facie refugee designation, similar to the Syrian refugee resettlement initiative in 2015.
This situation is urgent and dire. While The Royal Canadian Legion recognizes the efforts of the government to support this humanitarian crisis -- the $50 million pledged in humanitarian support; the recent increase to 40,000 Afghan refugees that will be accepted; the evacuation initiatives to date -- more is desperately and immediately needed.
The Royal Canadian Legion calls on the Government of Canada to take action now.
The Royal Canadian Legion
cc: The Honourable Melanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees Citizenship