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'A distinctly Welsh welcome': 50 Afghan families make Cymru their home

Y Ddraig Goch (Image: Gwalia)

This week, Cymru has passed a "significant milestone" in its efforts to provide sanctuary to Afghan nationals who have "supported the Armed Forces".

Cymru is now accommodating 50 families, comprising approximately 230 individuals. The majority of those who have arrived have "directly supported Wales-based and Wales-facing Armed Forces units in Afghanistan over the last 20 years".

A ‘Team Wales’ approach has ensured that collaborative multi-agency working has been delivered at pace "to ensure Cymru can truly embody our Nation of Sanctuary vision". This has involved the Welsh Government, Welsh Local Authorities, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Ministry of Defence, refugee support organisations and local Welsh Afghans themselves.

This is the latest example in the long history of Cymru providing sanctuary for those seeking sanctuary. Welsh local authorities also continue to support the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and the asylum system.

The Welsh Government said that "this collaborative national approach will continue in the coming weeks to ensure additional families can be brought safely to Cymru and integrate effectively with our communities".

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “Today, we welcome the families and individuals that have served our country in Afghanistan. We have made clear our pledge of Wales being a Nation of Sanctuary and we’re committed to do all that is possible to ensure Afghan interpreters, refugees and their families are welcomed.

Wales is a Nation of Sanctuary – we will do all we can to provide a warm welcome in the short-term and our communities will, no doubt, be enriched by their skills and experiences in the very near future.

All local authorities in Wales are participating in these schemes and have offered their support and assistance to the Afghan citizens who are being resettled in the UK. I want to thank all of our partners in this collaborative Nation of Sanctuary approach to coordinate this significant undertaking. I also want to place on record my particular thanks to Urdd Gobaith Cymru for having the humanitarian vision to ensure we can provide a distinctly Welsh welcome for our new Afghan friends.”

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