IPU Committee Chairs make statement on the plight of parliamentarians in Afghanistan
Joint Statement of the Committee to Promote Respect for International Humanitarian law and the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians of the IPU on Afghanistan
The Committee to Promote Respect for International Humanitarian law and the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians of the IPU express their deep concern on the current human rights and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
We strongly call on colleagues from around the world to consider what actions their parliaments can take to help the people of Afghanistan and the humanitarian agencies trying to deliver aid to millions in need.
Over the past weeks, the number of displaced populations in Afghanistan has been on the rise leading to increased situations of vulnerability and despair. More than half a million people were forced to leave their homes, with thousands of others trying to flee the country. Women and children make up 80% of Afghanistan’s refugees and internally displaced people. Drought, food scarcity, COVID-19 and a weak health system are factors or increased vulnerability.
The provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need in Afghanistan is crucial, in particular with regard to women and children who are often the most in need and vulnerable to violence and exploitation. We call on you to take action to support the work of those providing humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, including the United Nations, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
We ask for countries to keep their borders open so that Afghans who want to seek international protection can do so. We call on you to increase support and assistance to the internally displaced persons who had to leave their homes behind, men and women, boys and girls who lack access to basic rights and living conditions.
We draw particular attention to the need to ensure respect for the human rights of the 316 Afghan parliamentarians and the staff who support them, and in particular to the safety of the 86 women MPs, as well as former women MPs and female parliamentary staff – particularly in light of mounting evidence of targeting and intimidation against them.
In the spirit of parliamentary solidarity, we call on MPs and Parliaments to consider all possible measures to support those parliamentarians and parliamentary staff who have reached out to the IPU and other humanitarian agencies in a bid to leave the country for safety reasons. We call on you to use your parliamentary powers and parliamentary diplomatic channels to urge those in power in Afghanistan to (1) protect their lives and physical integrity and to (2) facilitate assistance to those who are subject to reprisals or have reason to fear them, by helping their urgent evacuation from Afghanistan and/or by ensuring that they receive humanitarian visas and temporary relocation in your country.
Lastly, we urge you to keep all channels of dialogue open and to take part in international efforts to help longer term assistance to restore the livelihood of the men and women who remain vulnerable in Afghanistan.