Council of Europe member states should not undermine human rights protections in response to Afghans seeking safety

“Member States should make an unequivocal commitment to dealing with the arrival of people fleeing the appalling situation of Afghanistan in accordance with their human rights obligations ”, declared the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović.

“Various governments and local authorities in Council of Europe member states have set an example by pledging to welcome people fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country. Unfortunately, however, many Member States have also alluded to, announced or taken action in favor of closing borders, building walls and fences, restrictions on asylum applications or refoulements. These and other measures ostensibly aimed at “preventing irregular migration” may have the effect of preventing people from seeking asylum in the territories of our member states, from illegally turning back at borders or from being without access to a safe haven. protection along their route while seeking safety.

Some states have cited fears of a new “migration crisis” or “lessons from 2015” to justify such measures. This ignores the fact that the real crisis is facing the Afghan people, especially women and girls, and some neighboring countries to which people mainly flee and which are already hosting large numbers of Afghan refugees for many years. years ”.

Website of the Commissioner for Human Rights