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Calling for more attention to the dire straits of many in Afghanistan - particularly those who are relatives of individuals in the Afghan community in Winnipeg

On Thursday, October 8, I spoke on a Member's Statement about the need for more help for those who are in very difficult and dangerous circumstances in Afghanistan, and the need in particular to reach out to help those who are relatives of individuals in the Afghan community in Winnipeg. 

 Afghanistan–Prov­incial Response

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the situation today in Afghanistan is be­coming a humanitarian crisis.

      Members of the Afghan com­mu­nity in Winnipeg tell me stories of many families who are having to stay in their homes for fear of the Taliban. If they go out, they fear they will be taken by the Taliban or killed by the Taliban. Some are now running out of food and are starving, for they have no way to get food and no money to purchase it. Others, who are in hiding, are having to change locations frequently for fear of being found by the Taliban.

      One of the most heart-rending stories I heard was of a father giving his son a gun and telling his son that if the Taliban arrive his son is to kill him–his father–because he doesn't want to be tortured by the Taliban.

      There needs to be an effective federal and prov­incial response to the situation. It is urgent.

      From a provincial perspective, we need, as was done with the refugees from Syria, to have an agreement with the federal government to accept 2,000 people from Afghanistan in Manitoba.

      Many who have come from Afghanistan to Winnipeg in the past now have relatives back in Afghanistan who desperately need help. Members of the Afghan community in Winnipeg are ready to do their part, but the provincial government needs to help to deal with issues which arise when the newcomers get to Manitoba.

      I suggest the provincial government convene a group, including members of all provincial parties represented in our Chamber, to work with individuals in the Afghan community and with individuals who are helping refugees to do everything possible to help the situation in Afghanistan and to advocate with the federal government for action to improve the ability of family members in dire straits in Afghanistan to get to Winnipeg where they can be safe.

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