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King Charles III visits Aberdeen’s refugees

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

The new British monarch met with those displaced by war to learn about the humanitarian aid provided by the City Council.

By Paris Tyler

courtesy of PA Media

On Monday 17th October, King Charles III visited Aberdeen to meet with those who had come to the city after being displaced by conflict in Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine.

Donning his kilt, he warmly welcomed the refugees in the city’s Town House as he heard first-hand accounts from those affected directly by war, and learnt of the efforts made by the Local Council to support and resettle the displaced families.

Aberdeen City Council has worked closely with the UK and Scottish Governments to provide accommodation and vital services, such as health and education, to more than 1,000 families forced to flee their homes.

Amongst the many of those rebuilding their lives here, the King spoke with Afghan interpreters who had previously worked alongside the British Army during their operation in the country.

One of the interpreters, Burhan Vesal, recounted his personal experience leading to him fleeing his country. ‘Working with the military, it was my dream, and when I find that they are hiring interpreters I joined. It was a kind of service to my country, and besides that support of my family as well.’

‘The hardest moment is leaving your home, leaving your family, but there was no option. I had to choose to leave the country otherwise my life was in danger, my family was in danger.’

The fall of Kabul in August 2021, as well as the wars in Syria and Ukraine, have seen thousands of refugees come to the UK in search of a better life. Since 2016 Aberdeen has been supporting those from Syria, and continues to accommodate hundreds of individuals and families coming to this country.

The monarch also spoke with Inna Skvortsova, a Ukrainian woman who fled Kiev in April this year. Six months later, she now has a full-time role at the council assisting with the resettlement programme.

‘I came here, why? War. What can I do?’ Ms Skvortsova began, ‘I can at least make my contribution to help. I am absolutely happy that I can contribute myself to something important… Six months ago I didn’t expect that I would be here, or with the King, His Majesty, and now I am proud to represent my country.’

The event at the Town Hall was also attended by representatives of several businesses and organisations that have worked in partnership with the governments and council to provide resources for the refugees. A choir composed of pupils from Dyce Primary and the Robert Gordon’s College closed the event with a rendition of ‘The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen’.


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