South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, is deeply concerned over the uncertainty and fear instilled in the citizens in the aftermath of the military offensive carried out by the Taliban in Afghanistan. SAHR strongly believes in the right of the Afghan people to live in peace with human rights and dignity in their country and that protecting Afghan lives is paramount at this time.
The arrival of the Taliban and the collapse of the government has direct impact on civilians’ lives in Afghanistan. SAHR is particularly concerned about the fate of women and girls, academics, journalists, civil society activists, human rights and women’s rights defenders and religious minorities, under the new Taliban rule. Many journalists, especially female journalists, are also worried about violence, retaliation and harassment for their work.
SAHR urges the Taliban to adhere to their promises towards ensuring the safety and security of civilians. We urge them to put all their efforts to protect the civilian population and to effectively address the chaos and panic emanating from the new developments.
SAHR believes that Afghans must have the right to leave the country and to seek and gain protection elsewhere. The authorities must ensure safe passage to those who wish to leave. SAHR advocates that the international community, USA and Europe, and especially Afghanistan’s South Asian and Central Asian neighbouring countries, should immediately open borders and provide opportunities for Afghans to seek asylum while immediately suspending all deportations and forced returns to Afghanistan.
During the length of the Taliban military offensive, which occurred parallel to the peace negotiations, many have been internally displaced and have left home due to fear of retaliation, and many of these IDPs lack adequate shelter, access to medical care and food. Those affected should be provided with necessary support and UNHCR, UNICEF and other UN agencies as well as national and international NGOs should be allowed to stay and work freely to provide the necessary services.
Therefore, SAHR urges all the nations to act collectively and immediately to stop further violence and loss of lives and property in Afghanistan.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights,
Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy
Dr. Roshmi Goswami
Co – Chairperson