Thirteen people from Afghanistan are on their way to Estonia, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) said on Tuesday. They are people who have worked with Estonia in the past.
They have been helped to leave Afghanistan by Estonia's allies.
The minister said the situation around the airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul, is very tense and complicated, which is making it difficult to provide accurate information.
"According to current information, 13 Afghans are out, but I emphasize that this picture changes by the hour, and if you ask in a few hours, the number may be different," she emphasized.
Liimets said the refugees they will be brought to Estonia as beneficiaries of international protection.
"It is up to the Ministry of the Interior to decide how to proceed. According to Estonian law, procedural steps must be taken and then it is decided what exactly their life in Estonia will look like during the period when they need help to stay away from home because it is dangerous for them to live there," she said.
When asked whether Estonia will grant them asylum, Liimets said the relevant decision will be made by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA).
"Here, I would certainly not rush ahead with the official decision, because we carry out these procedures in accordance with Estonian law. However, I very much hope that these people will receive international protection from Estonia, because the situation in their country today is regrettably such that their lives are in danger precisely because they have dealt with, for example, the protection of human rights, women's and girls' rights and health care in that country. There may be humanitarian circumstances in which the granting of asylum to these persons is entirely appropriate," she said.
Last week, the government agreed Estonia would accept up to 30 Afghan refugees and their family members. Twenty spaces are for people who have worked with Estonia and 10 for people who cooperated with the EU and NATO.
Editor: Helen Wright