Reps Gwen Moore and Ilhan Omar call for probe at Fort McCoy

TOMAH (WKOW) -- With reports coming into their offices regarding mistreatment of Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy, Representatives Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) have officially called on the Department of Defense to investigate conditions.

According to a letter sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Moore and Omar's offices have received calls alleging a variety of abuses and poor living conditions, including:

  • Staff speaking to refugees in a rude or condescending fashion
  • Staff calling refugees "animals," either directly to them or to other staff members
  • Refugess lacking access to underwear
  • Refugees lacking access to feminine hygiene products.

"These families fled their homes and left everything behind, and many arrived here literally with only the clothes on their backs. They should be treated with compassion and dignity," Moore and Omar said in the release.

Moore and Omar referred to previous controversy surrounding refugee treatment at Fort McCoy, when Cuban refugees fled the base due to poor living conditions. They said many organizations want to help, including those in their respective districts, but the DoD needs to identify the needs.

"Our responsibility to protect and ensure the safe and dignified treatment of these individuals did not end with their evacuation from Afghanistan. These refugees are under your care and deserve the best we can offer," Moore and Omar said in the release.

In a response emailed to 27 News, Fort McCoy spokesperson Cheryl Phillips said the Department of Homeland Security and DoD are dedicated to treating "our Afghan guests" well.

"A robust donation system has been established to distribute items such as clothing, undergarments, shoes, baby items and personal hygiene products. We seek constant feedback from our Afghan guests on how the interagency team at Fort McCoy can improve their temporary stay," Phillips said in the statement.

More at WKOW 27 News

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