European Interest

We must protect Afghans’ human rights, says Chair of Human Rights Subcommittee

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As the security situation in Afghanistan changes rapidly, Maria Arena, Chairwoman of the Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, issued the following statement.

“I strongly condemn the Taliban’s brutal military campaign, which has led to a catastrophic humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The militants’ targeting of civilians, with assassinations of journalists, human rights defenders and other civil society activists, is barbaric and shocking. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable, as they are victims of severe violence, and their freedom to live as independent members of society is being taken away from them, yet again. The progress made in the last 20 years is unravelling in front of our eyes, with all the achievements in development, human rights, rule of law, gender equality, healthcare and education being reversed. I call on all international actors to immediately step up their efforts to stop this; the EU, in particular, should continue to help Afghan society to keep the hard-won improvements in their lives.                                                 Persons displaced by violence, both within the country and those seeking refuge in the neighbouring countries, must be protected in line with international humanitarian law. The Taliban must ensure that aid agencies are given unimpeded access to all of the Afghan population to avoid an impending humanitarian disaster. Those who want to leave the country must be allowed to do so. In keeping with the EU’s commitment to universal human rights, I call on the EU and its Member States to develop a comprehensive strategy to uphold the Afghan people’s human rights, including those who decide to apply for refugee status in the European Union.                                                                                                    Those who perpetrate heinous crimes against the Afghan population cannot enjoy impunity, but must be punished for them. This should happen domestically as soon as the situation allows for it, but the reports of war crimes potentially committed by the Taliban should also be investigated by the international community. If they are proven to be true, the international community must use all the legal instruments provided under international law to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

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