This article first appeared on Cities Today’s website. MMC engages in content partnerships with several organizations, and cross-posting does not indicate an endorsement or agreement.
Mayors from over 60 cities around the world – including New York, Los Angeles, Milan and Bristol – have called on their national governments to open new pathways for Afghan refugees following recent developments in the country.
In a joint statement coordinated by the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) – a grouping of global local government leaders focused on helping cities better manage migration – 68 mayors and city leaders from 16 countries pledged their support.
“As mayors representing cities across the globe, we stand ready to immediately welcome Afghan refugees in our communities,” the statement read. “We call on our national governments and the international community to urgently work with the global network of city leaders and civil society to expand pathways and provide humanitarian support now.”
With over 70 percent of the world’s refugees based in cities, the Council says city leaders are in the best position to understand how to incorporate new arrivals into the community.
“This statement is a clear signal from mayors around the world that they are ready to support and protect the people of Afghanistan immediately,” said Vittoria Zanuso, Executive Director, Mayors Migration Council.
“Mayors are ready to welcome Afghan refugees in their cities and urge the international community to stand by those who are unable to leave, including many former mayors of Afghan cities, who are now in danger.
“We invite other mayors to join the commitment, and we hope that national governments and international donors will act on our call.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor Bristol and a member of group’s leadership board, said: “Bristol is a city of sanctuary – we’ll continue to support and resettle Afghan refugees.
“We’re working with the Mayors Migration Council and mayors worldwide to ask national governments to work with us to expand protection, pathways to safety, and humanitarian aid.”
The MMC, which was founded in 2018, is funded by the Open Society Foundations, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and managed as a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Its current leadership board is composed of the mayors of Amman, Bristol, Freetown, Kampala, Los Angeles, Milan, Montreal and Zürich.
London housing scheme
Last week London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to help the city’s councils and housing associations support the arrival of Afghan refugees.
The mayor said he would expand the new Right to Buy-back fund to help councils purchase homes which could be used to resettle families arriving from Afghanistan.
Housing associations are also being encouraged to apply for funding so that suitable homes that can be delivered quickly.