Statement on the political situation in Afghanistan
The recent political developments in Afghanistan provoke disturbing and threatening consequences to the well-being of all Afghanistan people. On the 15th of August and after almost two decades of long oppression, Taliban militants retook Afghanistan’s capital Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, abandoning the presidential palace to Taliban fighters. Violence in Afghanistan grew to its highest levels in two decades. According to a United Nations Security Council report the Taliban increased their control of wider swaths of the country and by June of this year, contested or controlled an estimated 50% to 70% of Afghan territory outside of urban centers. With the Taliban increasing their hold on Afghanistan the rights of women and children are under attack. Reports on the prosecution of women and girls under Sharia law threaten to set back any and all progress made in the past 20 years. In their support of the United Nations Secretary-General remarks to the Security Council, UN Women assert that ‘women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan must have only one direction and that is forward.’ 1
Against this backdrop, the High Representative on behalf of the EU foreign ministers 2 expressed ‘deep concern about reports of serious human rights violations and abuses in areas across Afghanistan’, calls all actors ‘to allow safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to Afghan women, men and children in need, including to a large number of internally displaced persons’, and affirms that ‘the European Union will also pay special attention to those Afghans whose security might now be in jeopardy due to their principled engagement for our common values’. The President of the Home Affairs EU Council3 affirmed that ‘the international community must now do everything possible to ensure adequate humanitarian assistance and to protect the most vulnerable in Afghanistan’. The chairs of the European Parliament Committees on Foreign Affairs, Development and of the EP Delegation for the relations with Afghanistan called ‘upon all parties to secure and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country’.
The European Students’ Union calls the European Union and the European governments:
- To suspend all deportations and forced returns to Afghanistan, as called by a coalition of NGOs and as sentenced by the European Court of Human Rights in a recent case against Austria;
- To ensure the safe passage out of Afghanistan for all those at risk of being targeted by the Taliban. This includes expediting visas, delivering support for evacuations from Kabul airport, providing relocation and resettlement, and establish safe humanitarian corridors;
- To work with the UN and the international community to pressure the new Afghan regime against any setbacks on the rights of women, children and minorities, including their right to education;
- To promote scholarships for Afghan refugees, asylum seekers and persecuted students still in the country to allow them complete their higher education studies within the European Higher Education Area.
The European Students’ Union will continue working with the Global Student Forum and the other European and international partners to fight for human rights and the right to education for every person in Afghanistan and elsewhere.