Is The EU Acting According To Its Values And Fundamental Principles In Front Of The Afghan People?

What is happening in Afghanistan?


No one of us could imagine that in 2021 a terrorist group could take over an entire Country. Still, on 16 August, the Taliban, a militant group that ran the country in the late 1990s but was finally expelled by the U.S. in 2001, took control of Afghanistan and swept into Kabul after the government collapsed. The embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners. 


Afghans and all the citizens who lived there were desperate to flee from an uncertain future, fearing their lives and rights.


They fear revenge attacks by the Taliban against those who worked with the U.S. or the government or from the reimpose of the harsh rules and law that they relied on when they ran Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. 


Back then, women were barred from attending school, and they had to wear burqa and be accompanied by a male relative whenever they went outside. Those who committed the crime of theft was punished using the method of cutting hands. For those who committed adultery, they were stoned. 


Due to international social pressure, the Taliban have promised to respect women’s rights and prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for terror attacks. However, it is hard to believe in those promises.



The EU response toward the Afghanistan occupation and massive human rights violations.


In response, the EU called for an immediate cessation of all violence, the restoration of security and civil order and the protection and respect for civilian life, dignity and property throughout Afghanistan. Furthermore, It called the Taliban to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and on all parties in Afghanistan to respect all commitments made and pursue further an inclusive, comprehensive and enduring political solution.


The EU has other priorities besides protecting Human Rights, and it is combatting terrorism and preventing the use of Afghan territory by international terrorist groups.


The European Union promised to continue providing needs-based assistance to the Afghan people access for humanitarian aid to Afghan women, men and children in need, including many internally displaced persons (IDPs)



New European refugees crisis.


Afghan refugees constituted one of the most extensive protracted refugee situations in the world. Fortunately, since 2002 many Afghan refugees have returned home; however, we are facing the same crisis with the latest events.


European countries are aware that the Afghanistan situation will lead to many refugees and asylum seekers.


We have seen the chaos in Kabul´s Airport, where thousands of Afghan’s desperately tried to board planes leaving the country and putting their lives in danger. The EU must guarantee a secure way to help them; however, in the beginning, it only promised to secure the safety of Afghan staff who worked with their armies and diplomatic staff.


Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in the Informal meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs on the 3 September confirmed that the EU would support the Afghan population because the Afghanistan issue affects the EU, Europe, the international stability and the European security.


Unfortunately, and despite the terror and bewilderment Afghans go through, the many Member States have hinted at, announced or taken measures for border closures and asylum applications.


These measures will make the Afghan population stranded without protection and security, which does not correspond with EU values and fundamental principles, such as universal human equality, universalism, and dignity.


Some Members States took that decisions and measures, thinking that many refugees could put in danger their identity. However, we should not forget that the principle of individual dignity and the idea of institutionalized solidarity is precisely the most profound identity of Europe (“The Union shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity”). If Europe defends itself against migrants and refugees over welcome them, we need to worry about putting our values and principles in danger.


The Council of Europe saw the necessity to pressure the EU Member States to fulfil their duties and obligations against the new migratory crisis. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, said that “Member states should unequivocally commit to handling the arrival of persons fleeing the horrendous situation in Afghanistan in accordance with their human rights obligations”.


EU values and principles toward refugees and asylum


The European Union is an area of protection for people fleeing persecution or serious harm in their country of origin.


Asylum is a fundamental right and an international obligation for countries. Article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights establishes that “The right to asylum shall be guaranteed with due respect for the rules of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees and in accordance with the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Treaties’)”.


EU countries have a shared responsibility to welcome asylum seekers dignifiedly, ensuring that they are treated fairly, and their case is examined following uniform standards. This ensures that no matter where an applicant applies, the outcome will be similar. 


The Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on standard procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection creates a coherent system to ensure that decisions on applications for international protection are taken efficiently and fairly by setting clear rules for registering and lodging applications, making sure that everyone who wishes to request global security can do so quickly and effectively; a time-limit for the examination of applications (in principle six months at the administrative stage), while providing for the possibility to accelerate for applications that are likely to be unfounded or were made in bad faith and allowing for border procedures and safe country concepts.


Nevertheless, we see how these values and obligations are skipped frequently and when we need them more.


Sadly, refugees and asylum seekers in Afghanistan are escaping from a harsh reality, and they only search for help, protection and safety while being treated with dignity and humanity, but the Member States, their only concern is to not welcome those refugees.








[4] Article 22 of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights.



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