Global Mayors Joint Statement: Welcome Afghan Refugees Now

As the US and other foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan, thousands of Afghans are attempting to flee the country to protect their rights and freedoms, prompting mayors worldwide to prepare to welcome Afghans seeking refuge in their cities. In the past two months, 300,000 Afghans have fled their homes in search of safety, joining six million Afghans who have been displaced by decades of conflict.

The Mayors of the MMC’s Leadership Board, along with other mayors and city-led organizations representing over 240,000 cities from around the world, issued an urgent statement calling on national governments to immediately open their doors to Afghan refugees and provide the resources needed to facilitate resettlement, while encouraging donors and other mayors to take steps needed to provide humanitarian support to refugees and asylum seekers. 

Human Rights Watch, The Hill, and the German Marshall Fund of the United States have highlighted the importance of this joint mayoral leadership.

The statement has 73 signatories and is still available for signature by mayors, county executives, or equivalents. Eligible signatories or interested parties are welcome to email for more information. 

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Global Mayors Joint Statement: Welcome Afghan Refugees Now 

We are deeply saddened by the situation in Afghanistan, which exacerbates one of the world’s longest standing humanitarian and displacement crises. In the past two months, 300,000 Afghans have fled their homes in search of safe havens or a way out. They join six million Afghan refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) already forced to move by decades of conflict and with little hope for return. Most of those fleeing Afghanistan now are women whose rights and freedoms are further at risk and children whose futures are now in jeopardy. 

As mayors representing cities across the globe, we stand ready to immediately welcome Afghan refugees in our communities. 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.  

70 percent of the world’s refugees, asylum seekers, and IDPs already live in cities, connecting us to families and cultures all over the world.  City leaders are experienced — through will and necessity — in building strong, diverse communities founded on welcoming and inclusion. Cities big and small around the world are already stepping up in support of the Afghan people — from committing to welcome thousands of new Afghan refugees in their cities, to establishing city-run relief funds to aid those in need of assistance. But we can and must do more.  

 We commit to providing safety and support to Afghans already living in our respective cities, their families and loved ones, and those who will inevitably flee over the coming weeks and months. We stand with the mayors and local governments of Afghanistan who have welcomed internally displaced and returning Afghans for decades and are now facing threats. We also recognize that without a truly global protection response based on solidarity, the responsibility for hosting Afghans fleeing their country will once again fall on the shoulders of neighboring countries and localities along migration routes. We stand next to the mayors in these major reception areas as they prepare to support new arrivals.  

 In cooperation with national and international partners, we can open our cities to Afghans today.  

 Together, we invite:  

 National governments to:  

  • Expand protection and pathways to resettlement for Afghan families and individuals, including simplifying asylum and reunification procedures.    
  • Support and expand immediate evacuations of at-risk Afghan families and individuals.  
  • Decriminalize journeys of Afghan families and individuals that are not undertaken through regular pathways 
  • Stop forcible returns of Afghan asylum seekers given the impossibility of safe and dignified return at this time.   
  • Cooperate with and resource city governments to facilitate the welcoming, protection, and inclusion of Afghan families and individuals so they can recover and rebuild their lives. 

Donors to:  

  • Close the gap in humanitarian assistance for at-risk Afghans, meeting the United Nations’ call for $1.3 billion USD to reach people in need, currently funded only at 37 percent.    
  • Channel financial and technical resources to city governments and their local partners to accelerate on-the-ground responses in refugee receiving cities.  

Mayoral colleagues to:  

  • Join our commitment to welcome, protect, and include Afghan refugees and asylum seekers as residents of our cities.   
  • Advocate for your national government to expand protection, including resettlement, for Afghan families and individuals. 
  • Provide services, funds, and support to affected Afghans in partnership with local NGOs and diaspora communities.  

As mayors catalyzing bolder and smarter global action on migration and refugees, the situation in Afghanistan has further strengthened our commitment to working with our national governments, international partners, and city government colleagues around the world to provide all refugees and asylum seekers safety and security during these challenging times. The solution to the enduring displacement of Afghan people is also an urban one.  


Mayoral and Local Government Executive Signatories (71 total):

Ruth Butterfield
Mayor of Armadale, Australia

Ranka Rasic
Mayor of Brimbank, Austrailia

Lina Messina  
Mayor of Darebin, Australia

Anna Reynolds
Lord Mayor of Hobart, Australia

Gillian Aldridge
Mayor of Salisbury, Australia 

Ricardo Nunes
Mayor of São Paulo, Brazil

Marie Angèle Meyanga epse Noah Ngah  
Mayor of Afanloum, Cameroon 

Fred Eisenberger  
Mayor of Hamilton, Canada 

Berry Vrbanovic  
Mayor of Kitchener, Canada 

Valérie Plante 
Mayor of Montréal, Canada  
Leadership Board Member, Mayors Migration Council 

Luc Carvounas  
Mayor of Alfortville, France  

Christian Métairie  
Mayor of Arcueil, France 

Clément Rossignol Puech  
Mayor of Bègles, France 

Anne Vignot 
Mayor of Besancon, France 

Pierre Hurmic 
Mayor of Bordeaux, France 

Olivier Bianchi
Mayor of Clermont-Ferrand, France

Eric Piolle  
Mayor of Grenoble, France 

Christophe Ferrari  
Grenoble Metropolis President and Mayor of Pont de Claix, France 

Gilles Poux 
Mayor of La Courneuve, France 

Grégory Doucet  
Mayor of Lyon, France 

Jacqueline Belhomme  
Mayor of Malakoff, France 

Gaby Charroux  
Mayor of Martigues, France  

Bruno Bernard  
President, Métropole de Lyon, France 

Anne Hidalgo
Mayor of Paris, France

Léonore Moncond’huy  
Mayor of Poitiers, France 

Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol 
Mayor of Rouen, France  

Mathieu Hanotin 
Mayor of Saint-Denis, France 

Wilfried Tissot
Mayor of Saint-Pierre d’Entremont, France

Jeanne Barseghian 
Mayor of Strasbourg, France 

Emmanuel Denis, 
Mayor of Tours, France 

Cedric Van Styvendael  
Mayor of Villeurbanne, France 

Peter Kurz 
Mayor of Mannheim, Germany 

Giuseppe Sala 
Mayor of Milan, Italy 

Leoluca Orlando  
Mayor of Palermo, Italy 

Som Prasad Mishra  
Mayor of Changunarayan, Nepal 

Hubert Bruls  
Mayor of Nijmegen, The Netherlands 

Taysir Taha 
Mayor of Hebron, Palestine 

Ricardo Rio 
Mayor of Braga, Portugal 

Fernando Medina  
Mayor of Lisbon, Portugal 

Susan Aitken  
Leader of Glasgow City Council, Scotland 

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr
Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone
Leadership Board Member, Mayors Migration Council 

Corine Mauch  
Mayor of Zürich, Switzerland 
Leadership Board Member, Mayors Migration Council 

Erias Lukwago  
Lord Mayor of Kampala Capital City, Uganda 
Leadership Board Member, Mayors Migration Council 

Councillor Ian Ward 
Leader of Birmingham City Council, United Kingdom 

Marvin Rees 
Mayor of Bristol, United Kingdom 
Leadership Board Member, Mayors Migration Council 

Nick Forbes 
Leader, Newcastle City Council, United Kingdom

Tim Keller
Mayor of Albuquerque, United States

Steve Adler
Mayor of Austin, United States

Lauren McLean
Mayor of Boise, United States

Kim Janey  
Mayor of Boston, United States 

Byron Brown  
Mayor of Buffalo, United States 

Lydia Lavelle
Mayor of Carrboro, United States

Lori Lightfoot
Mayor of Chicago, United States

Michael Hancock
Mayor of Denver, United States

Sylvester Turner
Mayor of Houston, United States

Eric Garcetti 
Mayor of Los Angeles, United States 
Leadership Board Member, Mayors Migration Council 

Daniella Levine Cava 
Mayor of Miami-Dade, United States

Bill de Blasio  
Mayor of New York, United States 

Libby Schaaf  
Mayor of Oakland, United States  

James F. Kenney  
Mayor of Philadelphia, United States 

William Peduto
Mayor of Pittsburgh, United States

Ted Wheeler  
Mayor of Portland, United States 

Angela Birney
Mayor of Redmond, United States

Tom Butt  
Mayor of Richmond, United States 

Jenny Wilson
Mayor of Salt Lake County, United States

Ron Nirenberg
Mayor of San Antonio, United States

Todd Gloria  
Mayor of San Diego, United States 

Alan Webber
Mayor of Santa Fe, United States

Jenny Durkan  
Mayor of Seattle, United States 

Regina Romero
Mayor of Tucson, United States

Lindsey Horvath
Mayor of West Hollywood, United States

Leader Signatories (2 total):

Naseer Ahmad Lilizai 
Ex-Mayor of Pul-i-Alam City Logar province and Ghazni City, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan

Grace Mary Mugasa
Honorary Mayor/Minister of State for Public Service, Uganda

Supported by:

Mayors Migration Council

ANVITA (Association Nationale des Villes et Territoires Accueillants)

Cities for Action

Global Parliament of Mayors

IRAP (International Refugee Assistance Project)


United Cities and Local Governments

Welcoming America


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