Brendan O’Hara backed by Scots actor David Hayman, “this government should hang their heads in shame”
Argyll & Bute MP Brendan O’Hara has called for an immediate explanation as to why thousands of emails from MP offices listing charity workers and their families requiring evacuation from Afghanistan, remain un-opened by the Foreign Office which set up a dedicated ‘special cases’ inbox to deal with them.
Since last week Mr O’Hara’s office has dealt with several urgent appeals for assistance from worried constituents, those with family and friends in Afghanistan and charities whose workers have been unable to get out.
The Argyll & Bute MP has also been trying to assist Scottish actor David Hayman, founder of ‘Spirit Aid’, an organisation that has been helping better the lives of many people around the world including Afghanistan for the last two decades.
To find out now that in all likelihood those emails containing the names and details weren’t even looked at, is a real kick in the teeth and must be absolutely heart-breaking for those who’d been living in hope of a minor miracle.Brendan O’Hara MP
Following reports in a Sunday newspaper that 5,000 emails from MP’s offices across the UK still sit unopened, Mr O’Hara said: “If this is true then it is utterly shocking but unfortunately, not surprising. I know officials will have been working hard in extremely difficult circumstances to help, but this is a leadership problem that goes right to the top. Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, must explain why thousands of emails detailing desperate pleas for help, have been directed into a black hole.
Mr O’Hara, who is also SNP spokesperson on International Human Rights, went on to say, “We always knew it was a long-shot, but we told those who contacted us that we’d do our best, which we did. To find out now that in all likelihood, those emails containing the names and details weren’t even looked at is a real kick in the teeth and must be absolutely heart-breaking for those who’d been living in hope of a minor miracle. If this report is correct, government figures for those still requiring evacuation is far in excess of the 1,100 quoted. The UK evacuation finished yesterday, and it looks like these people have simply been abandoned to their fate.”
This government should hang their heads in shame at this moral, political and humanitarian tragedy that could have been avoided.Actor and Spirit Aid founder, David Hayman
David Hayman set up the Scottish humanitarian relief organisation Spirit Aid in a bid to alleviate the suffering of children and young people affected by poverty, neglect, abuse, lack of opportunity, humanitarian crisis and war. It operates projects in Scotland and overseas including Afghanistan, Palestine and South Africa.
He explained that since 2002, Spirit Aid has been providing medical services to isolated communities, refugee camps, prisons and women’s groups in the mountains of Northern Afghanistan.
He said: “Afghanistan is the poorest country in the world outside of Africa. Two out of every five children are dead by the age of five. Maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. The country has been devastated by war, poverty and drought. We have seven members of our staff – teachers, doctors and our pharmacist – desperate and in fear of their lives having just been abandoned by the UK; this government should hang their heads in shame at this moral, political and humanitarian tragedy that could have been avoided.”