Campaign for Afghans under threat #RealityCheck

#RealityCheck #Afghanistan #SaveAfghanArtists !

Today we are part of launching an important campaign for Afghans under threat! 

Our goal is to raise awareness of the shocking fact that, so far, not one Afghan has been relocated as part of the so-called Bundesaufnahmeprogramm für Afghanistan, aka BAP. Not only that, but this entire programme, which initially promised to receive 1000 persons a month from October onward, has been on pause for months.

Join us in saying: The German government needs a #RealityCheck!

It has been almost two years (sic!) since the Taliban takeover. Despite all promises, the government has introduced obstacle after obstacle – one could speak of a “roadblock-by-bureacracy” – to all the efforts of civil society to bring progressive and hence threatened Afghans to safety in Germany. (See the previous post for our Open Letter to the German government.)

Since the takeover by the Taliban in August 2021, Artists at Risk (AR) has been at the forefront of advocating for the safe evacuation of Afghan artists and cultural workers from Afghanistan. AR was the force behind a “List of Lists”, gathered with partner organisations (mentioned below) around the world, of artists and cultural professionals in need of urgent relocation. To this day, we have received applications from 3217 Afghan artists and cultural workers (principals), which is, including their dependents, more than 6000 people.

This sounds like a large number – and it is! But only if governments rely on activist-NGOs in the arts to do their work for them. Currently, this is another major contention: why is all of this work for the BAP being done by civil society, which does not receive a cent of government funding? Helping these people is the obligation of the government under national and international law and conventions. Compared to the 1+ million Ukrainians that Germany was able to receive with hardly a grumble – 6000 people is a drop in the ocean. 

“Wir schaffen das!” (“We can do this” – Chancellor Merkel’s famous statement when receiving over 1 million Syrians) is a total understatement. If there was a bit of political will, this would have happened in days, two years ago!!

Following extensive background checks and vetting, Artists at Risk (AR) currently has 251 applicants (with dependents, 1004) who are eligible for the BAP (which translates as the “Federal Reception Programme for Afghanistan and Other Humanitarian Admissions”). This is only a fraction of those in need. 

Ask the German government for a #RealityCheck ! Share this post, or create your own! The BAP has to restart. Accept more applications. And get them out. Now.

If you are not concerned with Germany, remember that many other countries – including Finland – have taken no creative workers at all. Not even in August-September 2021. Disgraceful. Hold your own governments to account!

Read and share this link about an Afghan artist awaiting evacuation: 

The #RealityCheck campaign was initiated by Kabul Luftbrücke and is carried out by Artists at Risk (AR) along with 11 other civil society actors.


This “List of Lists” has been brought together by individuals and organisations including:

Artists at Risk (AR), Indexical Films, Loaded Pictures, Mazefilm, Asia Contemporary Art Forum, Initiative for Practices and Visions of Radical Care, Afghan American Artists & Writers Association, Penn Cultural Heritage Center List, UN Special Rapporteur for Cultural Rights Deeyah Khan, the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Artistic Freedom and Creativity