Afghan evacuees in UAE protest over stagnant resettlement process and living in limbo in prison-like conditions

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Hundreds of Afghan refugees who were evacuated from Afghanistan to await resettlement in the United States and other countries have protested against the slow resettlement process, living in limbo and the prison-like conditions at a facility in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates where they have been housed for months.

Two Afghans who were inside the facility told the media that hundreds of Afghans had protested for freedom on Monday and Tuesday and that they believed thousands of Afghans were awaiting resettlement to the US or other countries.

One video shared on social media showed men and children repeating “we want justice” while wearing white blindfolds bearing the word “freedom.”

In an apparent protest against what some Afghans believe are prison-like circumstances in the facility, the adults and some children reportedly had tied down their wrists.

As Afghan evacuees are housed in the Abu Dhabi facility known as Emirates Humanitarian City, the UAE maintains that it is committed to ensuring that they can live in safety, security, and dignity.

An official from the UAE acknowledged the frustrations and stated that Abu Dhabi was collaborating with the American Embassy to relocate the Afghans to the US or somewhere else, as according to the official, the resettlement process is taking longer than expected, Reuters reported.

A US State Department official visited the facility in response to protests that broke out in the facility in February after it appeared that the resettlement process had stopped. The official assured the protesters that all of the evacuees will be resettled by the end of August.

Following the collapse of Afghanistan’s foreign-backed government and the Taliban’s takeover, the UAE has volunteered to temporarily house thousands of Afghans who were evacuated on behalf of the US and other Western countries.

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