Winnipeg grandparents plead for Canadian reunion with Afghan family

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A Winnipeg couple is fearing for the lives of their 2-year-old grandson and daughter-in-law in Afghanistan after their son was killed there in September.

The couple who did not want to be identified in order to protect the identities of their family are pleading for the government to grant the boy and his mother entry into Canada.

“The urgency for this case is that their (lives are) in danger,” the woman told The Ncn Winnipeg. “They are at risk and could be persecuted anytime if they are found.

The couple, who lived in Afghanistan until 2015, support education for women and girls in the country, as did their son. They believe this support for women’s rights is the reason their son was killed — by the Taliban, they say — and why their family could still be in danger. Their daughter-in-law and grandson were last in hiding in the city of Kabul but are “constantly moving.”

“It’s a very hard situation for them, because it’s hard to rely on people,” the woman said, noting that her daughter-in-law is “not mentally stable” and fearful of the future.

“She is worried about what’s going to happen with them due to the risk that is following them,” she said.

The family has received a groundswell of support from people in Winnipeg, many of whom helped launch an online petition, shared a hashtag called “#RescueAfghanWomanAndBaby” across social media, and came out on Saturday to write letters to politicians in Ottawa. Organizers of the campaign hope the government will change laws that they say don’t do enough for internally displaced people.

“We’re calling on the government to allow private sponsors to sponsor internally displaced people in the same way that private sponsors are allowed to sponsor refugees,” said organizer Kimberly Lenz.

The couple hopes that change can come soon enough to bring their grandson and daughter-in-law to Canada. They are not prepared to grieve another loss.