Afghanistan: Europe cannot look the other way
On Tuesday, the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council met to discuss developments in Afghanistan, with focus on international protection, migration and security.
The Council adopted a statement on the matter that evaded key questions. European leaders cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand and must provide rapid solutions and responses to this political and humanitarian crisis.
The Left calls on EU member states to protect at-risk Afghans as soon as possible, providing safe humanitarian corridors and visas, additional resettlement places, quick review of rejected asylum applications, and facilitation of family reunification.
We urge the European Commission to make an urgent proposal to the Council to invoke and implement the Temporary Protection Directive 2001/55/EC, which would provide immediate and temporary protection to fleeing Afghans who arrive in the EU.
Europe should make preparations to accommodate those expected to arrive in the immediate and more distant future, according to its obligations under international law and through a European binding mechanism of fair, proportional and mandatory distribution. Europe should also end the principle of responsibility for the first country of entry.
We call on EU member states to not return Afghans to third countries, to call on Greece to revise its law deeming Turkey a safe third country for Afghan asylum-seekers and, in parallel, to ensure relocation of Afghans from Greece to other EU member states.
Left MEP Clare Daly, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Afghanistan said: “Given its role in the Afghan war and occupation, Europe has an absolute duty to help, support and welcome those Afghans who want to come to Europe. Poverty, corruption, violence, fear and oppression have plagued Afghanistan for years; the Fortress Europe ‘business as usual’ approach coming from the Council and the Commission is sickening, and completely unacceptable.”
MEP Cornelia Ernst (DIE LINKE, Germany) added: “The declaration of the Home Affairs Ministers is a farce. What is crucial is the immediate protection of Afghans at risk and to stop blocking refugees from coming to the EU. Europe is partly responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan. Afghans have practically been handed over to the Taliban in recent weeks. The EU cannot ignore its responsibility and therefore must take people in immediately. This is about a minimum of political decency.”