Call for ‘distinctly Welsh welcome’ as 230 people from Afghanistan make Wales their home
A Welsh Government minister has called for Wales to provide “distinctly Welsh welcome” as it was announced that 230 people from Afghanistan have now arrived in the country.
Wales is now accommodating 50 families, comprising approximately 230 individuals, most of which supported Wales-based and Wales-facing Armed Forces units in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.
The Welsh Government, Welsh Local Authorities, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Ministry of Defence, refugee support organisations and local Welsh Afghans themselves have been working together to home them as part of Wales’ ‘Nation of Sanctuary’ commitment.
“Today, we welcome the families and individuals that have served our country in Afghanistan,” Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said.
“We have made clear our pledge of Wales being a Nation of Sanctuary and we’re committed to do all that is possible to ensure Afghan interpreters, refugees and their families are welcomed.
“Wales is a Nation of Sanctuary – we will do all we can to provide a warm welcome in the short-term and our communities will, no doubt, be enriched by their skills and experiences in the very near future.
“All local authorities in Wales are participating in these schemes and have offered their support and assistance to the Afghan citizens who are being resettled in the UK.
“I want to thank all of our partners in this collaborative Nation of Sanctuary approach to coordinate this significant undertaking.
“I also want to place on record my particular thanks to Urdd Gobaith Cymru for having the humanitarian vision to ensure we can provide a distinctly Welsh welcome for our new Afghan friends.”
Chief Executive of the Urdd, Sian Lewis said that finding a home for the Afghan nationals had been a “huge team Wales effort” to “open our doors as a refuge to families seeking shelter and safety”.
“As an organisation, we are proud to help and continue to share with our members the importance of loyalty to country and culture but also to humanity and a higher good,” she said.
“We have a moral obligation as a national youth organisation to support humanitarian projects and offer a hand of friendship and support to the Afghan community in their time of need.”
Leader of Cardiff Council, Huw Thomas said that the families had been forced to leave their homes “in fear of their lives”, while fleeing the Taliban.
“It’s hard for most of us to imagine just what they’ve been through,” he said. “Cardiff Council has been working behind the scenes all along to ensure we were ready to play our part, alongside all our partners, in alleviating this terrible crisis.
“Cardiff has a long and proud history of welcoming people of all races and creeds to our city and we will do everything in our power to ensure all of these families feel that welcome from day one of their arrival.
“We welcome them all, knowing that they will soon become important and valued members of our vibrant, multi-cultural community.”