Supporting Afghan Women and Girls is more urgent and vital than ever

In the wake of the Forum on providing protection to Afghans at risk which took place Thursday 7 October 2021, we commend the EU Member States for the strong support that they showed on the evacuation and resettlement of Afghan refugees.

Twenty years ago, the international community committed to supporting Afghan women and protecting their rights while supporting Afghanistan. When these commitments were first made, the international community was on the ground in Afghanistan and could provide direct assistance and support to women. We must realize that this support has also made Afghan women a direct target of Taliban and other reactionary local and regional forces, as they celebrate their victory by reversing the progress made by Afghan women during the past twenty years.

With the fall of Afghanistan, and the scope of direct assistance on the ground becoming limited, the EU must meet its moral duty towards Afghan women and reaffirm and evolve its unwavering support to meet the changing needs of women and girls in Afghanistan.

We commend the statements made by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and other European leaders in support of evacuating and resettling Afghan women and children and in highlighting their special situation and the need to provide them humanitarian support.

We urge EU and other world leaders to take concrete action to support Afghan women, including those who choose to stay in Afghanistan, those who are unable to leave, and women refugees from Afghanistan in the EU and elsewhere. Without such concrete assistance, the credibility of commitments made twenty years ago will be cracked.

We applaud the actions that Member States and the EU have already taken toward the evacuation and resettlement of Afghans in need of refuge, as well as the humanitarian assistance provided. However, to fully provide support to Afghan women, their specific needs should be at the core of all humanitarian actions. We encourage Member States and the EU to partner with women’s organisations to provide gender-sensitive support to Afghan women in Europe, Afghanistan and elsewhere. This is fully in line with the joint commitment made by all of us in Europe, putting women in Afghanistan at the frontline of our support.