“It is hard for me to believe that I am safe”: the story of the Afghan teacher who managed to take refuge in Chile

Zainab Momeny, an Afghan citizen, arrives today at the Santiago airport to receive refuge from the Chilean government in Santiago (Photo: EFE)

After 14 years of being separated, the Afghan teacher Zainab Momeny met this Friday with her sister Zahra in Chile, where she arrived as a refugee after escaping from her country when the taliban took power.

She is very happy, says: ‘I still have a hard time believing that I am safe here’ [en Chile], and he feels that he can finally sleep peacefully without worry “said Zahra Habibi, a medical student at the University of Chile, who translated her sister’s statements at a press conference upon her arrival at the Santiago airport.

Zainab “is the first Afghan person we have welcomed”, Carolina Valdivia, Chilean Undersecretary of Foreign Relations, highlighted, who also welcomed him at the airport.

This A 33-year-old teacher who lived in Kabul found refuge in Chile after her sister Zahra, who has lived in the South American country since 2008, asked the Santiago government for help.

The Afghan teacher Zainab Momeny met this Friday with her sister Zahra in Chile (Photo: REUTERS)
The Afghan teacher Zainab Momeny met this Friday with her sister Zahra in Chile (Photo: REUTERS)

In a moving account, Zainab commented that In order to leave Afghanistan, she had to first hide with another family in the house of a friend, because under the strict moral standards of the Taliban she feared for her life because she was a woman, a university professor and a divorcee.. Later, he was able to travel to neighboring Pakistan.

The situation of women is very limited, it is summarized in the four walls of the house, women are not allowed to study higher education, they are not allowed to work, they only allow up to sixth gradeZainab explained, according to her sister’s translation.

“It is a supercritical situation, women have made their situation much more fragile, more than it was before, being repressed with lashes, blows. There are women detained and they do not know where they are”, He added.

Zainab managed to board a plane to Pakistan, where he received the help of Leopoldo Sahores, the Argentine ambassador to that country, who gave him the safe-conducts granted by Chile to continue his journey. After that he flew to Dubai, Paris and finally Santiago.

In a moving account, Zainab commented that to leave Afghanistan he had to first hide with another family at a friend's house (Photo: REUTERS)
In a moving account, Zainab commented that to leave Afghanistan he had to first hide with another family at a friend’s house (Photo: REUTERS)

“I was hoping to find her alive, but something about me always said ‘what if that doesn’t happen?’ I haven’t seen her in 14 years, so I see her more emaciated, a little older than the two of us were before, and she says: ‘I lived in the war, what do you expect more from me?’”, relató Zahra Habibi.

Now Zainab must comply with a seven-day preventive quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be held at the house of a friend of his sister. You will then explore options to study in Chile or another country.

“For security reasons I don’t want to extend myself for the most part. She (Zainab Momeny) he left Afghanistan and is in a nearby country and we are doing everything possible so that this person can come to Chile “Foreign Minister Andrés Allamand had declared at the end of August.

This case became known in Chile after Zahar Habibi asked for help through social networks to get his family and especially Zainab out of Afghanistan, a university professor who was in Kabul.

Zainab must comply with a seven-day preventive quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo: REUTERS)
Zainab must comply with a seven-day preventive quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo: REUTERS)

Chile has already issued 20 safe-conducts to receive Afghan citizens. Some are in Pakistan and others in Iran.

The Chilean government has explained that it does not have the means to get people out of Afghanistan, but it can provide the safe conduct and documents that allow the travel of refugees.

This is the first Afghan person to receive shelter in Chile out of the total about 300 people that will be arriving, as reported by the Government, based on a list drawn up by the Afghan community in the country and which includes the families of 10 women human rights defenders.

“We are arranging all the procedures so that they can arrive. We are thinking that they will arrive in groups, but there is no date because there are some without a current passport, or they do not have travel documents that allow them to board the airlines and there are in different countries, some in Iran and others in Pakistan “, said the vice chancellor.

Those who have a direct family link in Chile or are able to labor contracts will receive temporary residence by employment contract, while those who cannot adjust to either of the two previous options they will be welcomed under refugee status.

(With information from AFP and EFE)

Keep reading:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on pocket
Pocket
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.