Afghans who helped UK housed in Dorset military camp

BBC News

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The Ministry of Defence will house families at Chickerell Camp

A military camp in Dorset will be used to accommodate people from Afghanistan who have the right to remain in the UK.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is using Chickerell Camp near Weymouth to house people who supported the UK government and military in Afghanistan.

Dorset Council said men, women and children would be housed there for up to six weeks at a time while more permanent MoD homes were found.

It said the scheme was not linked to the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland.

A council statement said: “This is part of a wider scheme to relocate entitled people who worked with or for the British armed forces and other government departments throughout operations in Afghanistan.”

The authority said the people were “not refugees” and had a “right to remain in the UK under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP)”.

“They are entitled to live, work and access all services and benefits here, in recognition of their support to the British Government and British armed forces, our military and personnel, when based in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

The ARAP scheme is for Afghan citizens and their families who worked for or with the UK Government and British Armed Forces in Afghanistan in “exposed or meaningful roles”.

So far, the UK has relocated more than 24,000 people through ARAP and the Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), which focuses on women and children as well as religious and other minorities in danger from the Taliban.

A government leaflet sent to local residents said: “Over the next few months, you will see families arriving and leaving MoD properties in your area on a revolving basis.

“The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) is not intended as an open resettlement scheme for all Afghans wishing to relocate to the UK.”

A government spokesperson said: “We owe a debt of gratitude to those brave Afghans who risked their lives working alongside our forces in support of the UK.

“To ensure ARAP eligible families, who have the legal right to remain in the UK, can begin a settled life in the UK as quickly as possible, the UK Government is offering transitional and settled accommodation from the Ministry of Defence Estate, including at Chickerell.”

Afghans who helped UK housed in Dorset military camp