Photo: IRC

International Call for Urgent Action on Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Crisis

Envoys from Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States came together in Rome, On October 18, 2023, to tackle the pressing challenges facing Afghanistan.

The envoys acknowledged the dire humanitarian and economic situation in Afghanistan. They emphasized the need for unhindered access for humanitarian aid workers, particularly women, and the importance of donor support.

The group also expressed solidarity with earthquake-affected communities in Western Afghanistan and committed to providing assistance. Over $33 million in aid has already been approved, with more assistance in the planning stages.

These international envoys also recognized that humanitarian aid alone is insufficient to address Afghanistan’s deteriorating macroeconomic situation. They called for donor support for basic needs assistance, private sector growth initiatives, women’s empowerment, and livelihood generation.

More importantly, the envoys expressed grave concern for the human rights situation in Afghanistan, particularly the Taliban’s policies that exclude women and girls from social, economic, political, and cultural life. They called on the Taliban to reverse their restrictive educational policies, affirming that education is a human right for all.

Inclusive Political Process is another issue addressed by the international envoys. The group of envoys noted with regret the lack of serious steps by the Taliban to initiate an inclusive political process with fellow Afghans regarding the country’s future. They stressed the importance of a transparent, inclusive, and meaningful national consultative dialogue before adopting a new constitution.

While acknowledging Taliban efforts against terrorist threats from ISIS-K, the envoys expressed concern about other terrorist groups still residing safely in Afghanistan. They called on all states, including Afghanistan’s neighbors, to uphold their obligations to protect refugees, promote the right to seek asylum, and ensure the safety of vulnerable Afghans.

Additionally, the gathering emphasized the importance of international unity on Afghanistan and not normalizing relations with the Taliban. They looked forward to the UN Special Coordinator’s report and welcomed the UN Secretary-General’s offer to host a second meeting of Special Representatives and Envoys in the near future.