Joint Statement – The EU cannot shirk its responsibilities towards Afghans in need of international protection

16 October 2021

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In Afghanistan, nearly half of the population – 18 million people – is now in urgent need of life-saving humanitarian assistance. As the humanitarian crisis in the country persists and escalates, JRS Europe together with other 19 organisations, appeals to the EU to prioritize protection in its response to the situation. Ahead of the Resettlement Forum planned for the end of September, we call upon EU states to expand safe pathways for people in need of protection, including through an additional resettlement programme for Afghan refugees and a flexible use of other available pathways to safety.

We call on the EU and EU member states to:

1 – Make concrete commitments towards a significantly expanded refugee resettlement scheme at the upcoming Resettlement Forum.   EU Member States should commit to an additional targeted EU-wide scheme to resettle vulnerable Afghan refugees from neighbouring states and pledge the resettlement of at least 36,000 refugees in 2022. AMIF budget can be used to incentivise ambitious pledges. Resettlement pledges from the region must continue to take account of UNHCR submission criteria and prioritise the most vulnerable.

2 – Leverage all available pathways to secure Afghan refugees’ urgent access to protection. States should: employ diplomatic leverage to ensure that evacuations resume; expand places and scope for family reunification and complementary pathways (including community sponsorship, humanitarian corridors, student scholarship schemes or work visas) and ensure that these remain additionally to the scarce existing legal pathways; scale up the capacity of embassies or consulates in neighbouring countries.

3 – Uphold access to a fair and full asylum process for Afghan and other nationals in Europe, while supporting their inclusion, integration, and participation in society. All rejected asylum cases and detention decisions of Afghan nationals must be urgently reviewed in light of the dramatically changing situation in the country. Deportations of Afghans to the region must be formally suspended, and Afghan asylum seekers in EU territory must not be left in limbo. Any pushbacks and denial of access to asylum or reception for Afghans or other asylum seekers must be condemned, investigated, and sanctioned by EU institutions.

 

Signatories

 

International Rescue Committee

Caritas Europa

International Catholic Migration Commission, Europe / SHARE Network

Red Cross EU Office

Amnesty International

Child Circle

Danish Refugee Council

EuroMed Rights

Irish Refugee Council

Italian Federation of Christian Organisations for International Volunteer Service (FOCSIV)

Jesuit Refugee Service Europe

KIND Europe

Lesvos Solidarity

Norwegian Refugee Council

Oxfam

Refugees International

Safe Passage International

Save the Children

SB Overseas

Sea-Watch