Afghan civilians face extreme risks from the Taliban and must be protected. PAX is deeply concerned about the safety of Afghan civilians in the face of the violent overthrow of the Afghan government as well as the future the civilian population faces. Anna Timmerman, general director of PAX: “We are particularly concerned for those most vulnerable, including women and children, ethnic minorities with a history of persecution, such as the Hazara. And those with links to international organizations, particularly those that have championed human rights”.
PAX expert Marc Garlasco worked in Afghanistan for several years. He was head of Protection of Civilians at the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Garlasco: “The Taliban have a ruthless history of targeted killing of civilians, abusing women and children, promoting child marriages, and denying women and girls equal access to education and essential services. It is imperative neighboring countries open up to those seeking protection and that governments around the world immediately cease deportation of Afghans to Afghanistan”.
Support Afghans in need
PAX is especially concerned about the fate of residents of Afghanistan who have in the past two decades supported a different future for their country, a future in which human rights, human dignity, equal opportunities and inclusivity are the central organizing principles of their country. We call on all neighboring countries of Afghanistan to prepare for and accept Afghan displaced peoples and refugees and we call on the international community to support these neighboring countries and accept Afghan refugees in their own countries. We call on the UN to prepare shelters for refugees and work with member states to fund essential services for the displaced. We call on all countries, NGOs, INGOs, and other organizations that have in the past decades cooperated with and relied on Afghan citizens to proactively offer and organize expatriation and shelter. Countries and international missions must not abandon the Afghans who worked for them or with them in this time of need.
Finally, we call on the Taliban – who now claim to be the rulers of Afghanistan – to respect international law and to protect all civilians. In this volatile situation safe passage of IDPs and refugees must be allowed. Access to basic needs and medical services to all people must be guaranteed.