MEPs discuss women’s rights in Afghanistan

The situation of women and girls under the Taliban is worrying. Yesterday, the Committee on Gender Equality, the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Afghanistan and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (of which I am Vice-Chair), discussed the situation in Afghanistan.

The meeting was opened with a statement by Andreas von Brandt, Head of the EU Delegation to Afghanistan. We then discussed with Shaharzad Akbar, Chair of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Guissou Jahangiri, Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Sahraa Karimi, Afghan film director and President of the Afghan Film Organization, and the European Commission.

European leaders reject resettlement quotas out of fear of bad opinion polls. At the same time, activists in Afghanistan are risking their lives to fight for democracy and human rights. Nothing would have changed in Afghanistan without these courageous fighters for women’s rights. During the last months – when it was clear that the troops were withdrawing – we told the activists that we would not turn our backs on them. Now that the evacuation planes are no longer flying, we are telling them that we are negotiating with the Taliban so that they can leave for a neighbouring country – although it should be clear that it is, for example, difficult or even impossible for a women’s rights activist to integrate into a country like Pakistan. I therefore demanded in the meeting that:

  • in the Human Rights Committee, but also in plenary next week, we make sure that we as the EU take responsibility;
  • support and protect those who want to continue the fight in Afghanistan with a fact-finding mission;
  • make clear that women’s and girls’ rights are our priority in negotiations with the Taliban;
  • talk seriously about resettlement for those who want to leave;
  • treat those who have left Afghanistan with dignity once they are here.

My full speech in the Subcommittee on Human Rights:

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