Liberal Democrats

F37B Emergency motion: Responding to the Crisis in Afghanistan

Motion as passed by conference

Submitted by: Liberal Democrat Women, Liberal Democrat Campaign for Racial Equality and LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

Mover: Cllr Rabina Khan.

Summation: Layla Moran MP (Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs).

Conference notes:

  1. The Taliban takeover of almost all of Afghanistan by military force and without legitimacy from its people.
  2. The deeply alarming expansion of extrajudicial killings and disappearances of government officials, journalists, and civil society activists, which is plunging the country into a state of terror.
  3. The Taliban’s disregard for human rights and persecution of marginalised groups, including women and girls; LGBT+ people; and religious, ethnic and cultural minority groups.
  4. The greater levels of violence and abuse to which Afghan women and girls are subject to, and the risks of the deterioration of their basic human rights, eg. such as rights in education, work, healthcare, and basic civil liberties.
  5. The additional barriers, including but not limited to proving their identities, which are often faced by LGBT+ individuals seeking asylum in the UK.
  6. The UK’s responsibility to the Afghan people following twenty years’ intervention in the country.
  7. The UK Government’s culpability for a situation which has resulted in millions of Afghans living in fear.
  8. The betrayal of Afghan interpreters and many others who supported the UK’s work in Afghanistan.
  9. The moral negligence and abject complacency of UK Government ministers, in particular the Foreign Secretary, as the Taliban took territory across the country, resulting in thousands of those who supported us being left behind.
  10. The UK’s derisory commitment of taking in just 5,000 Afghan refugees this year under the new settlement scheme.
  11. The potential for international terrorist groups to re-use Afghanistan as a safe haven to plan, train and launch acts of terror.

Conference believes that:

  1. Standing up for human rights, oppressed minority groups, and those facing persecution is at the core of liberal values.
  2. It is essential that the international community speaks with one voice and works together on humanitarian crises and on the fight against human rights violations.
  3. The UK Government must honour its obligations to the Afghan people.

Conference therefore calls on the UK Government to:

  1. Work with the international community and neighbouring countries on the provision of safe, legal passages for those who wish to leave Afghanistan.
  2. Support Afghan refugees, providing humanitarian visas, speeding up the process of asylum claims, revisiting previously rejected asylum claims, and ensuring that Local Authorities receive sufficient funding for refugee settlement.
  3. Implement the calls from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants to scrap the “resettlement-only” plans in the Nationality and Borders Bill, grant immediate asylum to Afghan asylumseekers already in the UK, release Afghan nationals unfairly held in immigration detention centres, and expand the family reunion route.
  4. Prioritise vulnerable groups in refugee settlement, working with women’s organisations, LGBT+ organisations, and journalist agencies, acknowledging the barriers faced by Afghan women and girls, who are vulnerable to gender-based violence and often have caring responsibilities; the Afghan LGBT+ community, who have difficulty disclosing their identities; and others.
  5. Increase Official Development Assistance to those in need in Afghanistan and the region as part of a reinstatement of the 0.7% GNI international development target, and put pressure on the Taliban to ensure that aid workers who are women can continue their work.
  6. Support local and international gender-based violence services to ensure that Afghan women and girls - whether they have been able to flee Afghanistan or not v- receive help and support.
  7. Expand the Armed Forces Covenant to include Afghan soldiers and interpreters who have worked with British forces in Afghanistan.
  8. Take urgent action to stop terrorism from spreading its roots in Afghanistan once again, including by proscribing the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) and convening a European Security Summit to respond to the crisis in Afghanistan.
  9. Launch an urgent, immediate public inquiry into the Government’s intervention in Afghanistan throughout 2001 to 2021.
  10. Use all diplomatic means to support regional security and good governance in Afghanistan.
  11. Consider offering any relevant and appropriate diplomatic and military resources for any United Nations or other multilateral efforts to provide humanitarian relief in Afghanistan, including the potential use of peacekeepers.

Applicability: Federal.