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UK accused of discriminatory treatment as dual nationals left stranded in Afghanistan

People wait to board a military transport plane at the airport in Kabul on August 17, 2021 [STR/AFP via Getty Images]
People wait to board a military transport plane at the airport in Kabul on August 17, 2021 [STR/AFP via Getty Images]

Lawyers and campaigners have claimed that British nationals of Afghan origin are not being evacuated from Kabul.

According to the Guardian, roughly 50 dual British-Afghan citizens waved their UK passports outside Kabul airport yesterday but were overlooked for evacuation.

Immigration lawyers have said that they are being treated as second-class citizens in the evacuation efforts.

The news comes despite an announcement by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab that almost all single-nationality UK citizens that want to leave Afghanistan have been brought home.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN-AUGUST 21: Afghans continue to wait around the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they try to flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan on August 21, 2021. ( Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat - Anadolu Agency )

Afghans continue to wait around the Hamid Karzai International Airport as they try to flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghanistan on August 21, 2021. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat – Anadolu Agency]

"Mono-nationals – so single-nationality UK who have got documentation – the lion's share, almost all of them that want to come out, have been brought home," said Raab.

Immigration barrister Colin Yeo called on Raab to retract his use of the discriminatory term mono-nationals and reiterated that there was no basis in British law for treating British citizens any differently because they hold a second nationality.

Chief Executive of the Scottish Refugee Council Sabir Zazai has said that how these dual nationals are being treated is discriminatory:

"There is a Windrush parallel here. If there were white men, women and children in the crowds, being shoved and pushed around, I think we'd have been very quick in getting them to safety."

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"Britain has a duty to treat all its citizens equally, but when it comes to this dreadful situation these people who all have British citizenship are being treated differently."

"I appreciate that the [Foreign Office] staff are working hard here in the UK and on the ground in Kabul… but this is a failure of the UK government not planning and not preparing. These people's lives are at risk."

Public law director of Duncan Lewis Solicitors said that this has a discriminatory effect on people who have equal status under British law:

"British citizens ought to be treated equally and with the same urgency even if they are also Afghan."

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