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Why have these teachers been left behind?

Why is this unfair?

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The 109 forgotten teachers were recruited by the British Council to deliver training across Afghanistan. As full time BC employees they all had contracts with the organisation. Some worked for the BC for over 10 years.

They were employed on UK Government programmes, and the work they delivered was part of a broader UK foreign policy objective to Counter Violent Extremism and establish a more moderate and peaceful Afghanistan to ensure greater peace, stability and security on a national, regional and global scale.

The UK Government set up the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Programme (ARAP) to assist and support those who had supported the UK effort in Afghanistan.

 

All the British Council managers & office staff were told about the ARAP programme and assisted in completing their ARAP applications. Current office staff state that they all had their names added to a list which was given to the ARAP team. As a result, the BC managers and office staff all received ARAP approval, and were all relocated to the UK.

The teachers were all eligible for the ARAP scheme too, but the British Council chose not to tell them about the ARAP scheme. The British Council chose not to assist them in completing their applications, and the British Council chose not to put their names forward to the ARAP approvals team.

As a result of these decisions, the 109 teachers remain in Afghanistan, in hiding, and at great risk.

What Threats do they face & why?

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Any Afghan with links to UK Government activity became a target when the UK & US withdrew from Afghanistan, and the Taliban took control. The fact these teachers delivered controversial training focusing on British values (including equality, diversity and inclusion) makes them a real target for the Taliban. The values they were instructed to teach are very much at odds with the beliefs and values of the Taliban. The British Council and the UK Government specifically employed them to deliver this training, and has now abandoned them.

Other British Council staff who worked in the BC Office were all granted ARAP approval and relocated to the UK. But the teachers, who were publicly visible and recognizable, and did the front-line face-to-face work on the ground throughout Afghanistan, have all been left behind. 

Since the Taliban takeover, the teachers have been living in hiding, in constant fear for their lives. They have continually been forced to move from house to house in an attempt to ensure their safety and remain inconspicuous. They have suffered physical violence to themselves and to family members, as well as damage to property and multiple and repeated threats. Their precarious situation is as a direct result of the work they did for the British Council/ UK Government.

It is extremely disappointing to them that the organisations and systems they once admired and represented (The British Council and the UK Government) appears to have chosen to value managers but not teachers, and instead of honouring those who worked so hard for them, have abandoned them.

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