Pakistan: government and opposition deny an “agreement” to bring the former prime minister home
LONDON: UK government gave Hong Kong-based company more than £ 700,000 ($ 947,200) over five years to tell Afghans not to flee the country, according to The Independent, and is expected to hand it an additional £ 500,000 in the years to come.
The Seefar Company, responsible for websites such as On The Move and The Migrant Project, which describes itself as “a recognized leader in understanding migratory behavior change” and claims to offer services including “lines of script for politicians to deliver ”was hired in 2016 by the Home Office, and even more money could be allocated to her by the Foreign Office during the same period.
In a press release, Seefar said he had conducted a “communication campaign on migration in Afghanistan” throughout 2020, which had “enabled more than half of those consulted to make safer and more informed migration decisions. , and to avoid potentially fatal encounters on their journey to Europe. “
Posing as a neutral, non-profit organization, Seefar’s On The Move website urges migrants: “Don’t risk your life and waste hard-earned money trying to reach the UK.
The Home Office has also paid social media platforms Facebook and Instagram more than £ 23,000 to promote ads for company sites, which do not list details on safe ways to seek asylum in UK.
In August 2021, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, with thousands dead, tens of thousands stranded or in hiding, and the country facing a winter of scarcity.
Seefar added that he was using “unbranded” methods to deter Afghans from leaving the country, and advised European governments not to join in his methods.
The success of Seefar’s campaigns should be rewarded with an additional £ 500,000 for an ‘Organized Immigration Crime Deterrence and Influence Communication Strategy’ which ‘includes proposals to deter migrants and steer migrants towards credible alternatives … Via a multilingual website and telephone service ”.
In the same month that Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, Seefar was also awarded a three-year contract to provide training in “overseas strategic capacity development programs on behalf of the Interior Ministry” in on “borders, migration and asylum”.
Tim Naor Hilton, CEO of Refugee Action charity, told The Independent: “We have seen this year the tragic consequences of what happens when ministers waste money on a hostile policy of trying to preventing people from entering rather than protecting people.
“The government needs to spend less time on these obscure projects and more on creating safe and efficient routes for refugees to seek asylum here. “
A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry told the newspaper: “Although lives are in danger, we do not apologize for using all possible tools at our disposal to provide potentially vital information to migrants.
“Highlighting the threats of these deadly journeys is vitally important to make it clear that people are risking their lives if they turn to the smugglers. “