Victory for Afghan refugee girl!

Sahar Hbrahim Gel

The Dutch Rightist government wanted to send back 14-year-old Afghan refugee girl Sahar Hbrahim Gel to dangerous Afghanistan. She would have to leave her school, the Piter Jelles Gymnasium in Leeuwarden (called after a famous Dutch socialist pioneer of about 100 years ago, Pieter Jelles Troelstra.)

After a long struggle against this government plan by Sahar’s classmates, school, and other pro-refugee people, today the government has given in. Sahar can stay in the Netherlands.

Congratulations to her and her family!

Geert Wilders and his xenophobic PVV party will hate this decision.

(It would be even better if the Dutch government would not forcibly return Iraqi refugees to dangerous Iraq, like they are doing right now.

A few days ago, an Iranian refugee, who feared forcible return to Iran, killed himself by setting himself on fire in Amsterdam. Public indignation in the Netherlands against harsh anti-refugee policies because of that may have forced the government to take a step backwards in their anti-refugee zeal).

Britain: Black workers called today for a united front across Europe in light of a “rising tide” of racism: here.

7 thoughts on “Victory for Afghan refugee girl!

  1. Military chaplains losing programs meant to help them cope with stressful work

    April 09, 2011 – 06:00

    Alison Auld, The Canadian Press

    HALIFAX – Some chaplains in the Canadian military say they are losing the very programs meant to help them cope with the suicides, marital breakdowns and combat-related stress they face in their work.

    Monthly reports prepared for the Chaplain General highlight concerns over funding cuts that are affecting some chaplaincy training courses, retreats and meetings that address the strain of tending to Canadian Forces personnel.

    Continued Below

    One branch of the chaplaincy in Halifax reported concerns about the loss of these programs at a time when staff are heavily affected by the ongoing combat mission in Afghanistan, post-traumatic stress disorder among soldiers and increasing workloads.

    “This is particularly disheartening given that many of these programs were put in place to ensure chaplaincy resilience after so many chaplains were lost to PTSD,” states a report from last July that was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

    “Nearly every chaplain in the (Canadian Forces) has felt the effects of the Afghanistan deployment. Yet we are heading into a period where we will be unable to provide chaplains with the very programs that were developed to mitigate these effects.”

    The document from last July states that funding for Maritime Forces Atlantic was reduced to $79,000 for that fiscal year, down from $105,000 for the previous year.

    It adds that staff are being asked to project the impact of greater cuts in the future.

    A Defence Department spokeswoman said no one was available to comment on the issue.

    The reports, which run from last July to this February, suggest chaplains across the country are struggling with heavier workloads, a dwindling workforce and increasingly complex issues among military members.

    The February report said one chaplain at 8 Wing Trenton in Ontario was dealing with six families “that are being affected by family breakdowns following a recent deployment.”

    Chaplains at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ont., also said in November’s report that they were being called on to help families deal with marital stress, with most of those seeking help 16 months after returning from Afghanistan.

    It also said they had the stressful task of assisting in the burning of Russell Williams’ uniform after the former commander of CFB Trenton was convicted of murder and sexual assault last October.

    The same document says chaplains were facing an increase in cases of domestic violence at Ontario’s 22 Wing North Bay, while others say they were called on to provide pastoral care after several suicides on Canadian Forces “establishments over the summer.”

    Other chaplains complain of being tasked with too many competing responsibilities, making it difficult to complete their work.

    A chaplain at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Que., said he was asked to do more management rather than clinical work because mental-health services at the base were functioning at 50 per cent.

    Chaplains on two other bases in New Brunswick and Quebec said they were being stretched due to staff shortfalls.

    “Both Gagetown and Saint Jean report significant chaplain shortages, leaving the remainder of the team stretched very thin and working excessive hours and weekends,” states last October’s report.

    The documents also suggest morale is suffering among chaplains.

    Some in the navy reserve, who have been tending to families of fallen personnel and notifying next of kin, said they were frustrated with the decision to cut their involvement in a navy command chaplain conference.

    “This action was seen as punitive,” the report states, without providing further details.

    The reports list training conferences chaplains did attend, with some focusing on military stressors and caring for the wounded.

    A survey done almost three years ago on the morale among the 225 padres in the Forces at the time found all were experiencing burnout and compassion fatigue.

    The survey found that 52 per cent of chaplains were at medium to high risk for anxiety or depressive disorders.

    The questionnaire identified a handful of causes for the strain, such as work overload, poor work-life balance, lack of training, ineffective leadership and being pulled in different directions by the chaplaincy, the Forces and churches.


  2. Turn grief into organized struggle!

    The International Migrants’ Alliance (a global alliance of more than 150 organizations of migrants and refugees) expresses its solidarity with the participants of the protest commemoration today, April 10, 2011, at the Dam in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, over the death of Kambiz Roustayi, a refugee from Iran.

    The IMA also expresses its firm solidarity with the struggle of undocumented migrants and refugees whose fates are now more insecure because of moves by the Dutch government to criminalize them.

    Roustayi died April 8, after he burned himself earlier in a public square in Amsterdam, as a result of his depression and desperation over his status as an asylum seeker in the Netherlands. As a result of his tragic death, the Dutch government was forced to admit that similar cases of suicide have already happened before because asylum seekers are desperate to get asylum in the Netherlands and yet the Dutch government has even imposed very stringent measures that makes it a calvary instead of salvation for those seeking asylum in the Netherlands.

    The case of Roustayi should be the latest wake-up call for the Dutch government to reconsider its policies towards undocumented migrants and refugees. It is truly tragic that while western governments ignite conflicts and wars, and yet benefit from the plunder and exploitation of the resources of many underdeveloped countries where majority of migrants and refugees come from, this portion of humanity is treated as criminals or as third class human beings by these western states.

    Migrants and refugees need to fight for their rights, to stand up for their dignity and to join in the call and mass movement to stop hunger, unemployment, conflicts and wars.

    Today, we reflect, not only on the fate of Mr. Roustayi and thousands more like him, migrants and refugees escaping poverty, hunger, wars and conflicts, crossing borders despite the dangers and uncertainties, but also and more important, on the need to organize ourselves, create a strong and forceful movement of migrants and refugees that will secure our lost dignities and humanity.

    Long live international solidarity!

    Ms. Eni Lestari

    Chairperson, International Migrants Alliance (IMA)


  3. 10/04/2011 – 14:04:14

    An Afghan civilian has been killed in a road accident involving British forces, the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said.

    A spokesman said: “We can confirm that a local Afghan was killed in a road traffic accident yesterday in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province.

    “The accident involved a British Isaf vehicle and a tractor.

    “The accident is under investigation by the Afghan National Police with the full cooperation of British forces.”

    It is understood the Afghan was riding in a trailer at the back of a tractor, which collided with a 19-tonne Ridgeback coming the other way.


  4. Pingback: Victory for Dutch Afghan refugee girls | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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