British Home Office faces legal action over treatment of Afghan refugees

LONDON (Arabnews): The UK Home Office could face a legal battle over its plans to remove Afghan refugees from a London hotel and move them hundreds of kilometers from their jobs and children’s schools, it was reported on Wednesday.

A lawyer representing about 40 families with 150 children said the decision to relocate the refugees from Kensington in London to a hotel in Yorkshire, taking people away from jobs and children away from their schools, could be challenged.

The move comes despite the families having no guarantee of school places or jobs in their new location, according to a report in the Guardian.

Jo Underwood, head of strategic litigation at Shelter, said: “The Home Office will know that we are looking at legal action if we cannot solve this out of court.”

The families, who arrived in the UK in August 2021 after the Taliban capture of Kabul and the collapse of the internationally recognized government, were given entry into Britain because they had worked closely with authorities during British operations in Afghanistan.

Under Operation Warm Welcome, they were promised “help in establishing a new life including homes and schools,” the report said.

Some of the refugees, who include a former Afghan general and former British army interpreters, say they would refuse to go because their children would suffer again by being forced to drop out of their schools.

They are refusing to move because they say their children, already traumatized by years of war and displacement, would suffer mentally by having to uproot again.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been accused of failing to uphold promises made by Boris Johnson, the former UK prime minister, to support Afghans who worked, assisted and fought alongside the British forces in Afghanistan.

Afghan refugees have been protesting outside Downing Street since last Thursday, in which time the UK Home Office has only managed to find homes for at least one family, with one more family expected to be relocated by Wednesday.

The UK Home Office told some residents that they would still be moved to Yorkshire, despite the threat of protest at their relocation hotel and the threat of legal action, the Guardian report added.