Unifor statement on the situation in Afghanistan

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Afgan family huddles in a shelter

Unifor is expressing solidarity with the people and workers of Afghanistan, as news reports continue to paint a dire and desperate situation for the country's people. Over the past few weeks, the Taliban have advanced across Afghanistan, which has caused a rise in violence and threats against citizens.

"Our hearts are with the people and workers in Afghanistan, as well as their family members here in Canada and across the world," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "In such times, our world can feel so small, and our lives connected - our solidarity is needed with those facing violence."

Decades of military presence in Afghanistan have resulted in millions of displaced people, including many who have come to Canada as refugees. Unifor joins thousands of Canadians with loved ones in Afghanistan in calling on the government to continue providing direct support for people seeking to leave Afghanistan, as well as open up safe asylum routes for people wishing to come to Canada.

"It is our responsibility, as a country who participated in the war in Afghanistan, to welcome and offer safe asylum to those fleeing its consequences regardless of if they have worked with Canada," said Lana Payne, Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer. "The Taliban may say they have changed, but their recent actions remind Afghans of the same repressive regime of the past. Our thoughts go out especially to women and girls on the ground in Afghanistan as the situation evolves."

Unifor also encourages all candidates running in the Canadian federal election to address the situation in Afghanistan and pledge support. Unifor members are encouraged to contact their local candidates and encourage them to be in solidarity with the people and workers of Afghanistan.

In solidarity, Unifor National and Unifor’s Social Justice fund are donating $10,000 to International Media Support in support of Afghanistan’s journalists.

Earlier this week, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) launched an international solidarity campaign with Afghan journalists as the threat of violence grows and media are forced to close in the wake of the Taliban taking control of large parts of the country. Unifor supports this campaign and encourages workers in Canada to amplify the campaign.