The recent events in Afghanistan have been both horrifying and heart-breaking as we have witnessed the desperation and fear of those looking to escape the unfolding political and humanitarian crisis. We do not yet know the full scale of what will happen in the country or how many people have and will try to flee Afghanistan looking for refuge and safety in other countries. With 3 million Afghans already displaced what we do know is that many hundreds of thousands will be children.
Scotland played its part helping to resettle 3000 Syrian refugees through the Syrian Resettlement Scheme, including many children and families, as well as unaccompanied young people, many of whom are supported by our Scottish Guardianship Service. The First Minister stated that the Scottish Government will to do all it can to help refugees coming from Afghanistan. This commitment is echoed by many across civil society to ensure Scotland continues to be a welcoming and safe haven for those fleeing war and terror.
We share the concerns of the many Afghans already living in Scotland for the safety and wellbeing friends and family members currently in Afghanistan, including the many Afghan young people we work with at Aberlour.
We welcome the commitment from the UK Government to resettle up to 20,00 Afghan refugees here in the United Kingdom. However, we believe that commitment should not be limited to a fixed number but instead should be extended to include as many refugees, particularly those who are children, as need our help.
Many refugee Afghan children will likely never again see their homes. We must respond with compassion, warmth and friendship to those who arrive here in Scotland and across the United Kingdom ready to help them make new and safe homes where they and their families can thrive.