Afghan evacuees in the United Kingdom, especially for women, the uncertainty and overcrowding in temporary housing is creating tensions.
Many Afghan evacuees to the UK are still in temporary accommodation, mostly hotel rooms, eight months after emergency evacuations from Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch spoke with five women who have been living in three London temporary housing sites since late August 2021.
In temporary housing filled entirely by Afghan refugees, they described an increased danger of domestic violence, surveillance, and restrictions on their freedom of movement.
Domestic violence has escalated, according to women interviewed by Human Rights Watch, including psychological pressures as a result of limitations on women’s freedom of movement.
A woman informed Human Rights Watch that a woman was beaten by her husband in the hotel. She also stated that the woman wanted to report the beating, but that the community residing in the hotel prohibited her from doing so.
Another woman expressed her dissatisfaction with the slow pace of the resettlement process. “The London hotel is brilliant for a short time, not seven months,” she stated.
“I have heard a couple arguing next door several times,” another woman stated. “The husband screams and walks out, slamming the door behind him, as the wife cries. She’s been in a hotel room for seven months and hasn’t seen anything beyond the hotel premises.”
After the Taliban assumed control of Afghanistan in August, the UK evacuated over 18,000 people, including over 6,000 British nationals, and accommodated them in temporary housing while searching for more permanent accommodations. According to the Guardian, over 12,000 people remain in temporary housing, with many families sharing a single room.