The Royal Canadian Legion has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and is calling on the Government of Canada to uphold its moral duty to save the lives of its Afghan partners. The Legion is urgently calling on Canada to respond to the crisis in Afghanistan.
On November 5, Bruce Julian who is the Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion told the Government of Canada, “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.”
President Julian says, “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.”
“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,” President Julian wrote to the Prime Minister. “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.”
The Royal Canadian Legion is calling on the Government of Canada to 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,” President Julian said.
The Royal Canadian Legion says it would like the Government of Canada 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,” President Julian said. “The Royal Canadian Legion calls on the Government of Canada to take action now.”