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Afghan Refugee Canadian Resettlement

Afghan Refugee Canadian Resettlement


Last Updated on October 31, 2023

The collapse of the former Afghan government has precipitated a humanitarian and political crisis in Afghanistan, especially as Afghan citizens and their families who worked with NATO countries over the last twenty years may seek to leave the country. Many other Afghan citizens are seeking refuge, but Iran, Turkey and Pakistan have closed their borders to them, and some European nations have categorically rejected taking Afghan refugees (Slovenia and Austria). Others, for example, Greece, have tightened border controls and extended a border wall to stop what is anticipated to be a surge of Afghan men, women and children seeking refuge.[i]

As the political and economic situation within Afghanistan remains in flux or worsens, the rights and security of girls and women, persons who are LGTBQ+, and members of ethnic minorities, like the Hazara and Tajik, may be at particular risk, and the potential for major humanitarian crisis inside Afghanistan grows. As we write, drone aerial bombardment and Taliban attack in the Panjshir Province is creating a humanitarian crisis and need for humanitarian assistance and protection.[ii] More broadly, of 39 million Afghans who remain in Afghanistan, at least half are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. On September 3, 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged countries to provide emergency funding to stave off a looming “humanitarian catastrophe”. [iii] At this time, the Humanitarian Relief Plan of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) requires 1.3 billion US dollars, but is only 39% funded. [iv]

UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a High-level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan on Monday, September 13, 2021.[v] We urge the government of Canada to take a highly significant leadership role in addressing the humanitarian crisis. As the Taliban seeks to form government in Afghanistan, the unfolding humanitarian crisis requires that the Canadian government and indeed, all governments insist on and actively enable all efforts to:

  1. Ensure the safe evacuation of all Afghan citizens who assisted Canada and/or other allied governments in military, political and development initiatives in Afghanistan over the last 20 years; 
  2. Adhere fully to the intentions and expected practices of International Humanitarian Law in Afghanistan;
  3. Ensure respect and protection for Human Rights in Afghanistan, especially the rights of women and girls, LGBTQ+ persons, and members of ethnic minorities;
  4. Provide operational, financial and political support for ongoing humanitarian protection and assistance to people in need in Afghanistan through appropriate UN Agencies, the ICRC and appropriate Non-Governmental Organizations.

[i] Claire Parker (2021). As some countries welcome Afghan refugees, others are trying to keep them out. September 1, 2021, at

[ii] Ben Doherty (2021). Civilians in Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley face humanitarian crisis as Taliban attack. The Guardian online. September 7, 2021, at:

[iii] Kristy Siegfried (2021). The Refugee Brief – September 3, 2021. UNHCR, at:

[iv] OCHA (2021). Humanitarian Response Plan, Afghanistan. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at:

[v] OCHA (2021). High-level Ministerial Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan (September 13, 2021). Accessed September 8, 2021 at:


Global Health & Humanitarianism



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