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Ottawa urged to help Canada’s lawyers left behind in Afghanistan

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Saeeq Shajjan, an Afghan refugee who made it to Canada and whose legislation agency labored for the Canadian embassy in Kabul for nearly 9 years. at his dwelling in Toronto, on Dec. 14.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

The founder and managing companion of a Kabul legislation agency that spent years working for Canada’s embassy in Afghanistan says a lot of his colleagues had been left behind and are in hiding, so he’s urging the federal authorities to shortly carry them to Canada.

Saeeq Shajjan’s agency, Shajjan & Associates, was employed by the Canadian embassy in Kabul and World Affairs Canada in 2013, and the contract is legitimate till Dec. 31. Mr. Shajjan and his household had been first evacuated to Qatar after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August, then travelled to Canada. Twenty-nine of his colleagues and their households weren’t as lucky.

He mentioned the previous 4 months have been draining and he has given no thought to beginning his new life in Canada. “I’m actually involved concerning the security and safety of everybody who’s left behind,” he mentioned.

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“It’s so tough to obtain these calls and messages from my colleagues. A few of them, they’re actually in hiding. They might transfer from one place to a unique place to make it possible for they preserve their security they usually’re not traced.”

In July, Marco Mendicino, who was immigration minister on the time, introduced that Ottawa would resettle hundreds of Afghans who had labored alongside Canadian troops and diplomatic workers by way of a particular immigration program. The federal government later promised to bring 40,000 Afghan refugees to Canada.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has mentioned that serving to folks inside Afghanistan is especially difficult as a result of the Taliban management exit routes, so Ottawa has to work with companions on the bottom to make sure their protected passage.

Taliban forces stand guard a day after the U.S. troops withdrawal from Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul on Aug. 31. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has mentioned that serving to folks inside Afghanistan is especially difficult as a result of the Taliban management exit routes.STRINGER/Reuters

The Fall Economic Statement, launched Tuesday, proposes offering $1.3-billion over six years, beginning in 2021-22, and $66.6-million in future years to assist the resettlement of Afghans.

Alexander Cohen, a spokesperson for Mr. Fraser, mentioned the federal government expects to fulfil its dedication over the following two years.

Mr. Cohen mentioned he can not touch upon particular circumstances because of privateness and safety causes. He mentioned the particular immigration program contains Afghans who “had a big and enduring relationship” with the Canadian authorities, standards that’s assessed by both World Affairs Canada or the Division of Nationwide Defence.

“Over the previous months, we’ve added sources, lower purple tape and acted shortly to course of functions sooner and get refugees out of Afghanistan,” he mentioned, including that 5,700 Afghan refugees have arrived in Canada thus far.

An Afghan girl holds her baby as she and others wait to obtain packages being distributed by a Turkish humanitarian help group at a distribution centre in Kabul on Dec. 15.ALI KHARA/Reuters

Mr. Shajjan mentioned the federal government first must acknowledge that his colleagues need assistance. He mentioned that within the eyes of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada it might appear like they haven’t even utilized for resettlement. He mentioned they’ve despatched the required introductory e-mail and knowledge, however they haven’t heard again from IRCC.

“We’ve got had this enduring relationship with the federal government of Canada from 2013 to current. We’ve got all the required paperwork that show this relationship. We’ve got advice letters that affirm this … and the extent of risk that we face,” he mentioned.

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He mentioned American buddies helped him and his household get to Qatar. After routine safety assessments, they travelled to Canada. It took a couple of month for Ottawa to course of his case, he mentioned. In the meantime, his colleagues contacted IRCC in early August and nonetheless haven’t heard a factor.

He mentioned his companion made it to the US together with a colleague whose household is caught in Kabul. Yet one more has made it to Denmark along with his household, and one other is in Islamabad.

He shared a letter written by a Canadian official in July that claims they’ve private data of threats made in opposition to Mr. Shajjan and his agency due to their work with the Canadian embassy. Regardless of this, he mentioned, his colleagues proceed to attend.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets the household of Obaidullah Rahimi in Ottawa on Oct. 9. Mr. Rahimi labored on the Canadian Embassy in Afghanistan; his household is considered one of 22 not too long ago resettled Afghan households within the Ottawa space.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Kristin Taylor, a managing companion at Cassels Brock & Blackwell in Toronto, mentioned that when she heard about Mr. Shajjan’s circumstances in October on the CBC’s The Present, she reached out to him to see how her agency might assist.

“It appeared to me that abandoning legal professionals, our legal professionals, in the course of an unimaginable disaster the place their security was utterly jeopardized by the Taliban – there needed to be one thing that as professionals that we might do to assist our colleagues,” she mentioned.

Ms. Taylor mentioned Mr. Shajjan offered a listing of people at his agency, plus their members of the family. She mentioned they started lobbying IRCC on their behalf within the perception that legal professionals in Canada, working in the identical time zone and with none language obstacles, would be capable to transfer them by way of the method shortly. That was not the case.

“We’ve been stymied. Auto responses, not even callbacks,” she mentioned. If somebody does reply the cellphone, they are saying there’s nothing they’ll do. She mentioned it appears like hitting a brick wall.

So her agency has been reaching out to managing companions at different legislation companies, she mentioned, encouraging them to put in writing MPs.

“We’re not dwelling as much as the commitments that we’ve made to folks, and that’s very troubling.”

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai affords a few of the first insights into the key and sudden departure of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani – and the way he got here to ask the Taliban into the town ‘to guard the inhabitants in order that the nation, the town doesn’t fall into chaos and the undesirable components who would most likely loot the nation, loot outlets.’

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