Campaigns and Briefings
Briefing, House of Lords, 2022
In April 2022, the Sulha Alliance was part of a coalition of organisations, providing a briefing to members of the House of Lords prior to the debate on Ukrainian refugees, urging the UK government to ensure the same approach to all refugees, regardless of origin, and to immediately establish an “Afghan Family Reunion Scheme”, on similar terms to the Ukraine Family Scheme.
This would mean upholding its ongoing duty to those who put their lives on the line to support the UK’s efforts in Afghanistan and allow their family members who are now at risk because of that work to reunite and rebuild their lives together in safety in the UK.
Evidence Defence Select Committee, House of Commons 2021
In October 2021, the Sulha Alliance submitted Written Evidence to the 'Withdrawal from Afghanistan' Inquiry of the Defence Select Committee.
In November 2021, Sulha Alliance co-founders Peter Gordon-Finlayson and Dr. Sara de Jong provided Oral Evidence to the Defence Select Committee.
Letters to MPs & Lords
The Sulha Alliance engages with MPs and Members of the House of Lords from all Parties to draw attention to the plight of former Afghan interpreters.
The Sulha Alliance raises awareness about interpreters facing threats in Afghanistan, and has requested the protection of former interpreters who are stuck in refugee camps in other countries. It has also raised the issue of the lack of employment opportunities for former interpreters in the UK and the continued separation from their spouses and children.
The Sulha Alliance also supports Afghan interpreters who are resettled in the UK to lobby their MPs.
Evidence Defence Select Committee, House of Commons, 2017
In January 2017, the Defence Select Committee of the House of Commons took oral evidence from Colonel (Rtd) Simon Diggins OBE, former British Defence Attaché in Kabul.
In November of the same year, Dr Sara de Jong also provided oral and written evidence to the Committee.
The report concluded that "the Government should move away from its ‘relocation in extremis’ policy and adopt a more needs-based approach to the Intimidation Scheme. Otherwise, the scheme will continue to lack all credibility." (p. 21)
Parliament.tv recording of Oral Evidence to Defence Select Committee with witnesses Tom Tugendhat MP and Dr Sara de Jong
As quoted in the final report of the Committee, Dr Sara de Jong highlighted, in her oral and written evidence to the Committee, a lack of uniformity in the approach adopted by the different nations involved in ISAF and the successor mission Operation RESOLUTE SUPPORT (p. 30):
"While the [...] missions were coordinated on an international level, there is no international coordination and harmonisation regarding the relocation and intimidation schemes for former [LECs]. On the contrary, relocation and protection/intimidation schemes are different from country to country and variations between the schemes depend on seemingly arbitrary circumstances, such as the political climate, the lobbying success of veterans and other advocates as well as ad hoc discretionary decisions."
Leading International Advocacy
The Sulha Alliance and 16 partner organisations from 7 countries published a letter calling on the Heads of State and Governments in the US, Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, France and Italy, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to act urgently to protect Afghan locally employed civilians (LECs) of NATO member states.
In the letter, copied to Boris Johnson, we said that Nato countries should immediately evacuate the staff they had employed to ensure "that those who protected our lives will themselves be safe from reprisal".
The letter got international media coverage, including in the Times (UK); Der Tagesspiegel (Germany); Politiken (Denmark), Trouw (the Netherlands); The Guardian (Australia desk), and Business Insider.
Supporting International Advocacy
May 2021 Open Letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, initiated by Red-T, signed by the Sulha Alliance, demanding resolute action for the protection of Afghan local staff.
“Protect Translators and Interpreters, Protect the World”: A Roundtable at the United Nations, April 2018.