Dear Arlington friends and neighbors,
We watch with grave concern as the transition unfolds in Afghanistan. Human rights demand that life is respected by all military and paramilitary forces, both those withdrawing and those taking over. Civilian casualties are unacceptable.
Looking ahead, we are particularly concerned about violent political reprisals and the suppression of human rights by the Taliban. Religious freedom, gender equity, and free speech are all of utmost importance. All nations need to exert pressure on the Taliban government to meet international standards for human rights.
Meanwhile, the US needs to rally the international community and our own country to prepare to welcome large numbers of likely Afghan refugees. As part of this, the U.S. should lead in developing an Orderly Departure Program under the auspices of the United Nations so that those desiring to leave Afghanistan can do so safely and swiftly.
Here in Arlington, we need to be especially welcoming to refugees at this time, from Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Things you can do to help:
Please express support to your Afghan friends and neighbors.
Support the International Institute of New England (IINE) by donating or volunteering. Led by Arlington School Committee and Town Meeting member Jeff Thielman, IINE helps refugees and immigrants resettle in New England and advance their education, career, and citizenship.
Write to your US Senators and Representative to encourage action on the creation of an Orderly Departure Program.
Other organizations to consider supporting include:
Arlington values equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are committed to building a community where everyone is heard, respected, and protected.
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