EU to convene forum in September to discuss resettlement of at-risk Afghans

  • The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson announced on Twitter that the forum will also focus on resettling human rights activists, journalists and lawyers.
The EU Council ministers met on Tuesday for a roundtable discussion on the recent developments in Afghanistan. (Twitter/EU Council)
The EU Council ministers met on Tuesday for a roundtable discussion on the recent developments in Afghanistan. (Twitter/EU Council)
Published on Aug 31, 2021 11:47 PM IST
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Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In the aftermath of the United States and its allied troops withdrawing from Afghanistan, following a two-decade battle, the European Union on Tuesday said that it will convene a forum in September to discuss the “legal routes for resettlement” of at-risk Afghan nationals, especially women and children.

Taking to Twitter, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said, “I will convene, in September, a high-level Resettlement Forum to discuss concrete priorities with member states and provide sustainable solutions to those Afghans who are most vulnerable, particularly women and children.”

In another tweet, she added that the forum will also focus on resettling “human rights activists, journalists, [and] lawyers.”

“We will cooperate together with the other global leaders on a coordinated approach to safe and legal routes for resettlement,” her tweet further noted.

Notably, the EU Council ministers met on Tuesday for a roundtable discussion on the recent developments in Afghanistan that fell in the hands of Islamist militant group Taliban after the US decided to end its longest war of nearly 20 years. Leading up to the earlier decided August 31-deadline by US President Joe Biden for his troops to depart Afghanistan, there were speculations and even insistence from allied forces to extend the time. However, Biden decided to stick with it and the last US military flight flew out of the war-torn nation late Monday – with videos of Taliban firing gun shots and celebrating being reported.

Also Read | US troops exit: This army general is the last American soldier to leave Afghanistan

In a statement after the meeting, the EU Council said that it will “continue to coordinate with international partners, in particular with UN and its agencies, on the stabilisation of the region and to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the vulnerable populations, in particular women and children, in Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries.”

“The EU will engage and strengthen its support to third countries, in particular the neighbouring and transit countries, hosting large numbers of migrants and refugees, to reinforce their capacities to provide protection, dignified and safe reception conditions and sustainable livelihood for refugees and host communities,” the statement added.

The EU’s statement also mentioned that the union and its member states will do their “utmost to ensure that the situation in Afghanistan does not lead to new security threats for EU citizens.”

“All efforts must be pursued to ensure that the Taliban regime ceases all ties and practices with international terrorism and that Afghanistan does not become once again a sanctuary for terrorists and organised crime groups,” it read.

This development came on the same day when Nato secretary general Jens Stolenberg reiterated his need to look after the vulnerable Afghans who wished to be evacuated from their homeland, but couldn’t be part of the military airlift.

In an interview with AFP, he said that it is important for Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport to remain open in order to continue providing “humanitarian aid” to the Afghans as well as to ensure that people can be flown out. “We will not forget them,” Stolenberg added.

Emphasising that the Taliban had earlier assured that people will be permitted to leave even after the withdrawal of the US troops, he said that Nato will continue to work with its allies and other countries to “help people leave,” and that Taliban will be judged not on what they say, “but by what they do.”

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Saturday, October 23, 2021