Ireland will provide 150 humanitarian visas for Afghan refugees, says Minister

Roderic O’Gorman says State working with other EU countries to get people out of Kabul

Afghans including those who worked for the US, NATO, Europe Union and the United Nations in Afghanistan wait outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport to flee the country. Photograph: EPA

Afghans including those who worked for the US, NATO, Europe Union and the United Nations in Afghanistan wait outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport to flee the country. Photograph: EPA

 

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman has said that Ireland will provide 150 humanitarian visas to refugees fleeing Afghanistan.

“We have a list of criteria focused on those working with vulnerable groups and human rights defenders,” he told RTÉ radio’s News at One.

Ireland is working with other EU states on a means to get the people out of Afghanistan. The fact that flights have resumed into Kabul airport was very positive, he said. “We have identified these individuals and we are working on getting them out.”

Those identified will be accompanied by their families. Once they arrive in Ireland they will have to go into hotel quarantine and from there will be processed through the Irish Refugee Processing system, they will not have to go into Direct Provision. They will automatically receive refugee status, he said.

The refugees will go to emergency reception and orientation centres such as was used for Syrian refugees, the Minister explained.

Ireland and other European and developed countries are going to have to look closely at the situation as it develops in Afghanistan and if necessary to “step up” the individual departures of the people identified.

The Department of Justice was examining the current family reunification applications which were being processed, while the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney would be working closely with the UN Security Council to monitor the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, said Mr O’Gorman.

The bottom line was if people needed to flee then they could flee, he said.

Among those identified for refugee status were five young women who had already fled Afghanistan because of their involvement in education.

Despite declarations by the Taliban, the situation would have to be monitored to ensure they stick to international human rights standards, but he warned that the reality on the ground “may reflect something else.”