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Afghanistan: the international community should remain united and firm in demanding an immediate end to violence and the respect of human rights for all

“The entire world is watching the events unfolding in Afghanistan with grave concern and sadness. The international community should remain united and firm in demanding an immediate end to violence and the respect of human rights for all, both in the current situation and once a system of government is restored. The continued engagement of multilateral institutions in Afghanistan is crucial to monitor developments, provide assistance to the population and establish a common front to tackle the upcoming challenges,” today said PACE President Rik Daems.

“Over the past twenty years, many Council of Europe member States have invested financial and human resources to support the development of democracy, human rights and the rule of law for the benefit of the Afghan people. These efforts have, amongst others, focused on women and girls, children and the protection of minorities, who are now particularly at risk of human rights violations, together with those who have been working with the international community.

Council of Europe member States must act responsibly and coherently to ensure that the progress which has been achieved so far is not dismantled.

In the area of women’s rights, for instance, access to education, to work, to justice, protection against the gender-based violence, including some of its most heinous forms, the right to participate in public and political life are achievements which cannot be rolled back. In addition, Council of Europe member States should allow civilians fleeing Afghanistan access to their territories and ensure respect for the principle of non-refoulement at all times, as recalled by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Members of national parliaments have a particularly special role to play to ensure that governments are held to account for the way in which they respond to this unfolding humanitarian and human rights disaster.”