Military Speaker, Colonel Tim Collins, makes a stand against UK Government treatment of Afghan Interpreters
Press Release for Petition Delivery - WEDNESDAY 14 AUGUST - 10.00AM
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Event: On Wednesday 14 August at 10.00am a group of former Army Officers including Military Speaker Colonel Tim Collins and Alex Perkins, a former Captain in the Scots Guards and great-grandson of Winston Churchill, will deliver a petition of over 27,500 signatures to Downing Street.
Aim: The attending Officers and the petition signatories are calling on the Government to allow all Afghan interpreters that served with the British Army the option of resettlement in the UK, notably those who served in Helmand 2006-2012 and not just those interpreters that served after December 2012.
Background: The group of former Officers represents a wider collection of retired and still serving soldiers that believe the Government's discrimination of approximately half of the Afghan interpreters is morally reprehensible. The interpreters took great risks to both to themselves and their families in order to help British troops. By denying entry into the UK the Government is condemning them and their families to persecution and almost certain death. Knowing that all Iraqi interpreters were offered UK resettlement and given that other nations serving in Afghanistan have agreed to resettle all of their interpreters, these soldiers are embarrassed by the UK's lack of loyalty to those that fought for this country and they believe the Government is not conducting itself in a manner that the vast majority of the British public would expect. The Government should help those that have helped this country.
A legal challenge to the policy has been submitted to the High Court (on 6th August) by the Officers' legal team (led by Anita Vasisht of Wilson Solicitors). This is a representative case covering several Afghan interpreters that fall foul of the current policy. One of these interpreters, Baryalai Shams, has been denied his request for UK asylum despite his father and brother being executed by the Taliban and his mother and sister drowning whilst attempting to reach the safety of the UK.
Attending Downing Street:
• Col Tim Collins - Former Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment during the entry into Iraq 2003 and a former SAS Officer. Since leaving the army Collins has also made a number of corporate speaking appearances, applying his military values to a business environment with a company called Military Speakers.