Sassoli calls on EU to grant asylum to Afghans facing persecution

With the Taliban claiming control of Kabul, MEPs insist the EU needs to tackle urgently the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the region

The European Union must offer asylum to those Afghan nationals who may face persecution in their homeland, President of the European Parliament David Sassoli said on Monday.

"The situation unfolding in Afghanistan requires a united EU response,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “The country needs a lasting and inclusive political solution that protects the rights of women and allows Afghans to live in safety and with dignity. Asylum must be granted to those in danger of persecution.”

An extraordinary videoconference of EU foreign ministers will be held in Brussels on late on Tuesday. It will focus on the situation in Afghanistan. 

EU interior ministers will also hold an extraordinary videoconference on Wednesday. Initially, they planned to discuss the migration crisis at the Lithuanian-Belarusian border but will focus on the problem of refugees from Afghanistan instead.

After the United States announced the end of an armed operation in Afghanistan and began to withdraw its troops from the country, the Taliban launched a large-scale offensive on the government army and by Sunday had entered Kabul meeting no resistance. 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country after announcing he was stepping down to avoid conflict.

MEPs call for safe departure of EU nationals and Afghan partners 

MEPs have insisted it is imperative to secure and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country.

In a statement, David McAllister, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Tomas Tobé, Chair of the Committee on Development, and Petras Auštrevičius, Chair of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan, said that at this crucial point in time, humanitarian action prevails over everything.

"We deeply deplore the recent political, military and moral calamity in Afghanistan and express our deep concerns about the situation,” they said. “The hasty withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country without a condition base and the shocking collapse of Afghan institutions and its security forces allowed the Taliban to take over the country in an unexpectedly rapid way.”
The MEPs said that the departure through Kabul airport must be assured by all means. 

“We bear a moral responsibility for those who have worked for the EU’s entities, for NATO partners and other international and civil society organisations,” the statement read. “We urge those in positions of power and authority in Afghanistan to abstain from violence and respect basic human rights and international humanitarian law, and the achievements of the last 20 years in the fields of women’s and girls’ rights, the right of education, health care and social and economic development.”
The three MEPs insisted that the EU, together with other partners, needs to tackle urgently the humanitarian crisis in the country and the region, caused by conflict, displacement, food insecurity, droughts and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is in our own interest to prevent another migration crisis,” they said. “The EU needs to develop a new Strategy for Afghanistan and the region taking into account the new circumstances, considering that Russia and China will quickly try to fill the political vacuum. In particular, Pakistan, Iran and India should be urged to play a constructive role in Afghanistan.”

Safety of Afghan women and girls 

Evelyn Regner, the Chair of the European Parliament’s committee on women’s rights and gender equality, saidthe EU must not turn a blind eye to a humanitarian crisis which will specifically affect women and girls in Afghanistan.

“Now the Taliban have seized control of Kabul, a new reign of terror for people living in Afghanistan has begun,” she said. “For Afghan women and girls, this means systemic and brutal oppression in all aspects of life. In Taliban-controlled areas, women's universities have been closed, they are denying girls access to education, and women are sold as sex slaves.”

Regner said all EU member states must work together to ensure the safe passage out of the country for anyone in danger. All further negotiations must guarantee the safety and well-being of Afghan women and girls, she insted.

Ewropej Funded by the European Union

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The action was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this action. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the action.

More in Ewropej 2024