Posts tagged with "asylum"

Treatment of Afghan Interpreters

Approximately one month, the Director of Faith Matters, Fiyaz Mughal, highlighted the plight of Afghan Interpreter, Mohammed Nabi, and how he was sleeping rough on the streets of Athens. Nabi’s case was initially documented and he was assisted by Jess Webster, who works with refugees in Greece.

Having heard of the case, the petition by the Director of Faith Matters, has now reached over 116,000 signatories within 5 weeks. It is now being backed by the Sun on Sunday and has also been highlighted by the Daily Mail and the Metro. Yet, the Government have made no headway in addressing this issue. There is therefore a groundswell of public opinion backing Nabi’s case, yet the politicians refuse to even acknowledge this case.

Mohammed Nabi worked for ISAF and British forces in Afghanistan between 2008-2011. He has received numerous commendations for his work with British Forces such as from the 1st Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. He was instrumental in interpreting Taliban commands in real time when in the field with British soldiers and thereby he was key to tracking Taliban troop movements and attack points against British soldiers.

Speaking to Mughal in Athens he said that:
“My role was to work with commanding officers and I was the bridge between Afghan forces and British commanding officers. When officers from the British army went to speak to village elders, I was with them. There was an unwritten command that Taliban leaders gave to their forces to kill Afghan Interpreters first so that British and ISAF forces would be blind in the field. I was at risk of suicide bombers in such situations in villages as they tried to target British commanding officers and their interpreters”.

Nabi left working with the British armed forces after 1 year, (in 2009), because of threats from senior Afghan commanders made against his family and against him. He rejoined ISAF and British forces within 3 months of leaving since his skills were suited to armed forces work and he could not find other work and served again as an Afghan interpreter until 2011.

In 2016, an attempted kidnap against him failed and ‘night knocks’ against his front door raised threat levels against him and he fled on foot through Iran and into Turkey where he lounged for 18 months with no assistance from aid agencies who were assisting families. They were therefore not focused on assisting young single men.

Repeated attempts to highlight his case and the threat to his four children and wife failed in Turkey and he was left destitute and penniless, where he took up shepherding for basic subsistence. Each month though, saw the Taliban makes gains and come closer to his village and Nabi said that the policy of the Taliban to the children of people who assisted ISAF forces was to call them ‘sons of snakes, who were snakes themselves’. In other words, the children of Afghan interpreters were at serious of attack.

In 2016, to highlight his case he left Turkey and ended up being arrested in Greece and jailed. He was eventually released and claimed asylum though ended up penniless sleeping on a park bench in Athens where the Director of Faith Matters met up with him.

Speaking about the plight of Afghan Interpreters and in particular Nabi’s case, Fiyaz Mughal OBE, who developed the petition and who worked with the Sun on Sunday to highlight his case, said:

“Nabi has been denied entry into the UK and given no assistance when he approached UK Government agencies. How can this be right when he saw Afghan colleagues die in battle and Nabi was there saving British lives by interpreting Taliban commands whilst rounds went over his head. The only possessions he has are the plastic-coated commendations from officers because of his work in the field. It is disgusting the way that this man has been treated.

“The treatment of Afghan interpreters is a national disgrace and what the petition and the support from national newspapers shows is that the public care, whilst politicians have shown little courage in addressing this matter. I believe that anyone who has served more than a year in Afghanistan supporting our armed forces and who can show that their lives are in danger because of their work, must be let in. We relied on them to keep our armed forces safe, and now they need our help. This national disgrace must end and I will keep speaking out”.

Veteran US Diplomat Fears for Missing & Displaced Immigrant Children

Former U.S. Ambassador of Senegal Harriet L. Elam-Thomas, who currently sits on the advisory board of the University of Central Florida‘s The Center for the Study of Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery program, is concerned about the welfare of approximately 1,500 missing immigrant children, as well as the most recent group separated from their parents at the border.
As someone who has personally witnessed human trafficking, I know how crucial it is for us to police the police, says Elam-Thomas. What is the vetting process for those responsible for these children? Who is accountable for keeping track of them? There needs to be a thorough investigation into their safety, and the loopholes that make children vulnerable in a foreign country with no parent to protect them.
A Career Minister, with 42 years in the U.S. Department of Americas Foreign Service serving in France, Turkey, Greece and Africa, the former Ambassador is heartbroken by the inhumane treatment of immigrant families seeking asylum.
My heart is heavy, my soul is troubled and my faith in my country is being tested each and every day. Where is our conscience? Where is our sense of justice? Where are our morals? Where are we?
Historically, America has a different approach to non-Western or Eastern European refugees or laborers attempting to immigrate to the U.S. The Polish, Irish, Lithuanians, and other white immigrants had the privilege to acquire ambiguous last names and assimilate into society. Black, brown and yellow people cannot hide or become invisible.
Despite our frequent condemnations of other nations human rights violations, our history of human rights violations is not one for which we can be proud. A country that was founded on slavery, racism and unequal treatment of others is repeating the ugly history we would like to forget. I still remember images of children torn from their mothers’ arms and sold at the slave markets. The new Smithsonian Museum – The National Museum of African American History and Culture begins with that sobering history. Scores of people of all races visit there on a daily basis (8,000 per day). Sadly, our current Administration continues to be insensitive to the suffering of innocent children. I doubt the toddlers,orthose young teenagers seeking asylum with their parents, are members of M-13.
From 1942-1945, the U.S. Government instituted laws to intern Japanese citizens after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese internment camps have come to be considered one of the most atrocious violations of American civil rights in the 20th century.
Until the presidents recent executive order, America was guilty, yet again, of manifesting the total opposite of the values that supposedly sets America apart from so many other governments. I cannot imagine being abroad and trying to explain the U.S. Government policy to foreign audiences this past month, or year.
Silence is consent. The unanimous outrage of so many citizens sparked change. We all must continue to use our voices and speak out against the atrocities happening on American soil.
Ambassador Harriet L. Elam-Thomas is Director of the University of Central Florida Diplomacy Program and author ofDiversifying Diplomacy: My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar.” Elam-Thomas’ stellar career with the U.S. Department of America’s Foreign Service spanned forty-two years, during which time President Bill Clinton appointed her to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal
The retired Ambassador will be in New York City from
June 25-July 2, 2018, to launch an initiative titled,
“CIVILITY STRATEGIES: HEALING APPROACHES THAT UNITE PEOPLE AND STRENGTHEN DEMOCRACY.