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Joint letter: Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS)

Scottish PEN has joined with over 25 human rights, arts and culture organisations to sign a letter to Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, calling for transparency, support provisions and expanded eligibility criteria and commitment to targets in relation to the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

December 20, 2021

Scottish PEN has joined with over 25 human rights, arts and culture organisations to sign a letter to Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, calling for transparency, support provisions, expanded eligibility criteria and a commitment to targets in relation to the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

Ricky Monahan Brown, President of Scottish PEN said:

Scottish PEN is proud to join with other PEN centres and human rights and arts organisations in calling on the UK government to open the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme announced almost five months ago. Pursuant to the PEN Charter, we champion the idea of one humanity living in peace and equality and oppose the suppression of freedom of expression. The UK government has the means to take concrete steps to advance these goals through the ACRS, and we urge it to do so‘.

Read the full text, which was delivered privately to the Home Office last week, below.

Joint letter

Dear Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP;

The situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. Afghan citizens are currently some of the most vulnerable in the world, and a harsh winter is approaching. With the Taliban now firmly in control, there is an urgent need for governments around the world to ensure safe passage and support for those communities most at risk of persecution.

Despite heartening expressions of public support for the Afghan people, the UK Government’s response to the escalating crisis has been deeply disappointing. In particular, we are concerned that the proposed Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), announced on 18 August 2021, has yet to open, and that many of those at risk remain in Afghanistan.

Among those most at risk are actors, artists, journalists, musicians, writers, and other cultural actors. Without swift action, these voices – along with the rich and diverse cultural heritage they contribute to – will be irrevocably lost.

As a global champion of freedom of expression, we therefore request that the UK Government immediately:

We also call on those in positions of influence in the UK to protect those cultural actors at risk and safeguard the culture of Afghanistan for future generations.

Signed

Afghan Solidarity Coalition
Amnesty International UK
ARTICLE 19 Artists at Risk Connection Beyond Skin
Birds’ Eye View
Counterpoints Arts
Cubitt Artists
Edinburgh International Book Festival
English PEN
Good Chance
Index on Censorship
International Campaign for Afghanistan’s Musicians
International Civil Society Action Network
InternewsIrish PEN / PEN na hÉireann
LIFT
Musicians’ Union
National Centre for Writing
National Union of Journalists
Outburst Arts
PEN Afghanistan
PEN International
Poetry Translation Centre
Refugee Trauma Initiative
Society of Authors
Scottish PEN
The Coalition for Women in Journalism
The Refugee Journalism Project
Wales PEN Cymru
Write Afghanistan, Untold Narratives CIC

TAGS: PEN International Writers at Risk