Herat cityscape
23 Aug 2021

ENNHRI open letter urges European G7 members to seek strong G7 commitments to secure safe evacuation of Afghan Human Rights Defenders at Risk

On the eve of tomorrow’s G7 meeting on Afghanistan, ENNHRI has issued an open letter calling on European G7 members to push for strong G7 commitments to secure the safe evacuation of Afghan Human Rights Defenders who find themselves at risk. Read the letter below.

Dear European Members of the G7

ENNHRI, the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions, urges European governments to intensify their efforts in support of Afghanistan’s Human Rights Defenders, including through G7 commitments for continued humanitarian evacuations and securing safe passage.

The Taliban’s seizure of power in Afghanistan poses a grave threat to human rights in the country, especially those of women and girls. In face of this crisis, ENNHRI has urged European and national authorities to do all within their power to protect Human Rights Defenders in the country, and to secure urgent safe passage. We highlighted staff at particular risk at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), the country’s National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).

Last week, the G7 Foreign Ministers called on the international community to unite with a shared mission to prevent the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Afghanistan from escalating further. This cannot remain as rhetoric.

We therefore urge all European governments, including representatives in the G7, to take all measures and use all avenues possible to ensure that human rights defenders at risk will be protected – this means continuing humanitarian evacuations and providing safe refuge to those people most in danger.

Tomorrow’s G7 meeting is a crucial opportunity to make these commitments, as safe passage will only be possible through a joint effort between states. Indeed, a decision to prolong humanitarian evacuations beyond the end of August is imperative for safe passage to remain possible.  

ENNHRI and its members stand in solidarity with Human Rights Defenders in Afghanistan. Together with our colleagues from the Asia Pacific Forum of NHRIs (APF), we are ready to provide further information and support the efforts of European governments to ensure the timely humanitarian evacuation of Human Rights Defenders from the AIHRC and their families.

We emphasise that, through their work, all Afghan Human Rights Defenders attest to the universality of human rights. Defending them and helping secure their safety is the duty of all states.

Yours faithfully

» Read the full letter as a PDF document