• Press Release

Amnesty International USA Joins Welcome.US Initiative to Mobilize Support for Afghan Refugees in the United States

September 14, 2021

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Hundreds of people are gathered at the NY Public Library on 5th Avenue as "Free Afghanistan" rally to protest Taliban in New York City, United States on August 28, 2021. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Following the ongoing humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, Amnesty International USA is joining Welcome.US – a newly launched national initiative built across sectors, political parties, and all walks of life – to empower Americans to welcome and support our new Afghan neighbors.

In partnership with resettlement agencies, community leaders, refugees, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based organizations, veterans, universities, governors and mayors, and many others, Welcome.US will create a single point of entry for Americans who want to get involved and support people starting new lives in the United States.

Responding to the launch of this partnership, Paul O’Brien, the executive director of Amnesty International USA, said:

“Amnesty International USA has long advocated for the rights of migrants and refugees facing some of the most pressing human rights challenges, and we are proud to have had a foundational role in the initiative’s inception. As we join Welcome.US in their efforts to better support Afghan refugees in the United States, we continue to press the Biden Administration to welcome at-risk Afghans into the US; halt any and all deportations of our Afghan neighbors; and support them through refugee resettlement and humanitarian response.

Having spent years working with the government in Afghanistan prior to joining Amnesty International USA, I am also honored to join the initiative’s leadership to help support at-risk Afghan refugees, and in turn, help build a movement of welcome for people seeking safety.”

Denise Bell, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Welcome.US and researcher for refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA, also added:

“Welcome.US is an opportunity to come together in common purpose to welcome people seeking safety – Afghans forced to flee their country, their homes. This is the time for communities around the United States to rise to the occasion and show the world our commitment to welcoming people seeking safety and embracing them as our neighbors — and in helping them, we can discover our better selves. None of us wants to be forced from our home, and it’s incumbent on us to welcome our new Afghan neighbors with compassion and dignity – just as we’d want to be treated.

“We must act now to help Afghans who were forced to flee to find safety here and work alongside them as they rebuild their lives. Failure to do so is not only a failure for the people most in need, but also a moral failure for our country, which has long been a beacon of hope and refuge for those escaping war, violence, and other difficult circumstances.

“Welcome.US provides a critical opportunity to welcome our new Afghan neighbors, and this partnership builds on Amnesty International USA’s legacy of advocating for migrant and refugee rights, including recent calls to the Biden Administration to support at-risk Afghans through resettlement and other support. Though the initiative will focus its initial efforts on welcoming Afghan refugees, Welcome.US is about building a movement of welcome for all people seeking safety – a true north star.”

Read more:

President Biden’s Preferred Policy Option is Abandoning Afghans to Their Fates (August 24, 2021)

Shameful failure of UNHRC special session to address escalating human rights crisis in Afghanistan (August 24, 2021)

President Biden Fails to Give Reassurance to Afghans At Risk (August 20, 2021)

Leading Human Rights Organizations Call on President Biden to Evacuate at Risk Afghans (August 20, 2021)

President Biden Fails to Give Reassurance to Afghans At Risk (August 20, 2021)

Every Moment the Biden Administration Does Not Course Correct in Afghanistan Could Have Horrific Consequences (August 16, 2021)

International community must act decisively in Afghanistan to avert further tragedy (August 16, 2021)

Contact: Gabriela Arias, [email protected]