Communiqués

Statement of 20 April 2022 on deadly attack on a boys’ school in Kabul’s Hazara Shia district

20-4-2022

Afghanistan: Deadly attack on a boys' school in Kabul's Hazara Shia district

The Chair of the EP Delegation for relations with Afghanistan, Petras Auštrevičius (Renew, LT) issued the following statement today:

"We express our deepest condolences to the victims and the families of those killed in the recent attack on the Abdul Rahim Shahid high school in Kabul. We are devastated to witness the constant deadly attacks on educational institutions in Afghanistan, targeting innocent children, teachers and school staff. Schools should be a safe place where Afghan children, both boys and girls, can get an education and learn skills that will lead them through the rest of their lives.

The Taliban, since taking power, have taken on the responsibility of providing public services to the Afghan people, which also includes public safety and security. Now is the time to deliver on their promises and to guarantee the basic right to education for all Afghan children and young people, including female students, and to protect educational institutions from recurrent terrorist attacks. As the Hazara Shiite community has been subjected to numerous unlawful attacks in recent years, special attention must be paid to their protection.

The European Union will continue to advocate for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process and an inclusive government for the benefit of all Afghan people."

Further information

Profile of Petras Auštrevičius (Renew, LT)

Statement of 23 March 2022 on Taliban announcement to extend the education ban for female students above the 6th grade

23-3-2022

Afghanistan: Taliban announcement to extend the education ban for female students above the 6th grade

The Chair of the EP Delegation for relations with Afghanistan, Petras Auštrevičius (Renew, LT) issued the following statement today:

"We strongly denounce the Taliban announcement to further extend indefinitely the ban on female students above the 6th grade from returning to school. Education is a fundament right and Afghan girls must have the same right as all other girls. The European Parliament actively supports Afghan girls, and expresses solidarity with their efforts to regain their access to school.

Despite the Taliban's promises to preserve women's freedoms, these freedoms have practically disappeared. Most girls are now excluded from attending educational facilities, and women cannot engage in professional activities.

As representatives of European citizens, we reiterate the value of education. The EU is engaged in supporting the Afghan people and in implementing projects on the ground and believes that confrontation and provocation is a losing approach.

We remind the EU that any engagement with the Taliban must be based upon conditions. We are convinced that Afghan women and girls must be at the centre of the EU's talks with the Taliban authorities. We reiterate our call to the EU and the international community to take concrete actions to prevent any further delay for all Afghan girls to regain access to schools.

We stand by Afghan girls and urge the Taliban to refrain from any further actions aimed at limiting fundamental rights and freedom to women and girls. We therefore immediately urge the Taliban to lift such a ban".

Further information

Profile of Petras Auštrevičius (Renew, LT)


Joint statement of 8 March 2022 on leading MEPs defending the rights of Afghan women

08-03-2022

Afghanistan: Leading MEPs defend the rights of Afghan women

On International Women's Day, leading MEPs call on the international community to redouble its efforts to support women in Afghanistan.

"Afghan women and girls are not alone. The European Parliament actively supports their fundamental rights, and expresses solidarity with their efforts to regain their rightful place in the society.

With the Taliban seizing control of the country in August last year, twenty years of hope and progress for women in Afghanistan came to a drastic end. Despite the Taliban's promises to preserve women's freedoms, unlike in the previous period of their rule, these freedoms have practically disappeared. Most girls are now banned from attending educational facilities, and women cannot engage in professional activities. Enforced segregation, a ban on travelling without a male companion, and harassment on the streets have confined women to their homes, depriving them of most of their civil liberties.

Protests are the only weapon that women have to make their voices heard, and hundreds of courageous women regularly take to the streets to protest against their situation. But the protests have also been banned, and participating in them has become extremely dangerous due to a brutal repression of dissent. It carries the risk of being arrested, beaten, or even disappearing.

The European Parliament strongly supports Afghan women's fight for their fundamental rights. Women make up half of society. Their participation in the political, social and economic life of their country is crucial in Afghanistan, as much as it is in European countries, and in any other country around the world. European Parliament committees and its Delegation for relations with Afghanistan will continue to regularly invite Afghan women to their meetings in order to monitor the situation in the country. We are also thinking about new initiatives to support them. The recent two-day event on Afghan Women held in the Parliament, which brought together several prominent Afghan women activists, was a source of inspiration for such initiatives.

We stand by Afghan women, and we reiterate our call to the EU and the international community to redouble their efforts to support them in keeping their place in society, political life and the economy."

The statement is co-signed by:

David McAllister (EPP, Germany), Chair of the Committees on Foreign Affairs;

Tomas Tobé (EPP, Sweden), Chair of the Committee on Development;

Robert Biedroń (S&D, Poland), Chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality;

Maria Arena (S&D, Belgium), Chair of Subcommittee on Human Rights;

Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe, Lithuania), Chair of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan.

Joint statement of 29 October 2021 calling to prevail rights of Afghan women and girls

Afghanistan: Lead MEPs call to prevail rights of Afghan women and girls

In the context of the European Parliament's Gender Equality Week, yesterday the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality jointly with the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan held a Public Hearing on 'Afghan Women as Peace Builders and Community Leaders'. Five Afghan women, artists, women's rights activists, school founders and entrepreneurs, gave evidence about their projects, the current situation of women under the Taliban authorities and their expectations to the European Union.

Today, both Chairs Evelyn Regner (AT, S&D, Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality) and Petras Auštrevičius (LT, Renew, Delegation for relations with Afghanistan) issued the following statement:

"Following yesterday's authentic statements, we express our deepest concerns about the human rights' situation of women and girls in Afghanistan. This relates notably to the education sector and professional activities. Therefore, we are convinced that Afghan women and girls should be placed at the centre of the EU's contacts with the Taliban authorities and amongst the priorities of Parliament's activities. We remind the EU that any engagement with the Taliban beyond humanitarian assistance must be based upon conditions. In this context and if the situation allows, we propose the establishment of a human rights monitoring mechanism and a fact finding mission. (*..*)

Joint statement of 27 August 2021 on terrorist attack at the Kabul airport

Statement of the Chairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan on the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport

Chairs David McAllister (EPP, DE, Committee on Foreign Affairs), Maria Arena (S&D, BE, Subcommittee on Human Rights), and Petras Auštrevičius (Renew, LT, Delegation for relations with Afghanistan) issued the following statement on Friday:

"We condemn in the strongest terms the barbaric attack at Kabul airport in the middle of a dense crowd waiting desperately for evacuation. We mourn with the families of the 72 civilians and at least 13 US soldiers who lost their lives. This barbaric act against innocent people is unforgiveable. On behalf of the European Parliament, we express our sincerest condolences to the families of the victims. We call upon those de facto in power and authority since 15 August 2021 to hold to account those responsible for this terrorist act. The Taliban must assume responsibility for the security of the areas under their control. (*..*)

Joint statement of 16 August 2021 on recent developments in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: lead MEPs demand safe departure of EU nationals and Afghan partners and urgent tackling of humanitarian crisis

After the dramatic developments of the last days and hours, leading MEPs issued the following statement on Monday:

"We deeply deplore the recent political, military and moral calamity in Afghanistan and express our deep concerns about the situation. The hasty withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country without a condition base and the shocking collapse of Afghan institutions and its security forces allowed the Taliban to take over the country in an unexpectedly rapid way. (*..*)

Joint statement of 15 July 2021 on the 6th EU-Afghanistan IPM

Following the 6th EU-Afghanistan Interparliamentary Meeting held on 15 July 2021 by video conference in Brussels and Kabul, the Chair of the EP Delegation for relations with Afghanistan, Mr Petras Auštrevičius, and the Head of the Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly of Afghanistan, Ms Naheed Farid, gave the attached joint press statement.

Statement of 12 May 2021 on the terrorist attack against the Syed Al-Shahda School in Kabul

Leading MEP condemns barbaric attack on female pupils in Afghanistan

  • Condemnation of terrorist attack against female pupils in Kabul
  • Call to preserve the gains of the past two decades, including security
  • Call to the EU's continuous engagement for democracy, the rule of law and human rights, including the rights of children, women and minorities

Statement of the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan on the terrorist attack against the Syed Al-Shahda School in Kabul

Chair of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan Petras Auštrevičius (Renew, LT) issued the following statement today:

"We mourn with the families of at least 85 schoolgirls who have become victims of a terrorist attack on Saturday, 8 May, at the Syed Al-Shahda School in the Shiite majority neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi in Kabul. This barbaric act against innocent young lives is unforgiveable. On behalf of the European Parliament's Afghanistan Delegation, I express my sincerest condolences to the families of the victims and call upon the Afghan authorities to hold those responsible for the terrorist attacks accountable. (*..*)

Statement of 5 March 2021 on continuous violence and targeted killings in Afghanistan

Leading MEP condemns targeted killings and continuous violence in Afghanistan

  • Condemnation of targeted killings of journalists, human rights defenders and civil society representatives
  • Call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire
  • Call to continue the peace process preserving the fundamental rights and principles in a future Afghanistan

Statement of the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan on the increasing numbers of targeted killings in Afghanistan

Chair of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan Petras Auštrevičius (Renew, LT) issued the following statement today:

"On 2 March, three female media workers have been killed in Jalalabad. During the last months, we have seen an eruption of violence. It is very worrisome that this violence targets systematically those who contribute to an open and free society and who ensure the freedom of speech and media. Women are very often victims of these targeted attacks.

On behalf of the European Parliament, we condemn in the strongest terms the targeted assassinations of journalists, human rights defenders and civil society representatives. During the time of peace talks, the voices from media and human rights are more important than ever. We express our sincerest condolences to the families of the victims. In particular, we call upon the Afghan authorities to conduct thorough and transparent investigations and hold those responsible for the terrorist attacks accountable. (*...*)

Statement of 30 September 2020 on the launch of peace negotiations in Afghanistan

Leading MEPs welcome the launch of peace negotiations in Afghanistan

  • Call for inclusive peace talks
  • Condemnation of the continuous violence in the country
  • All sides should put in place an immediate and permanent ceasefire

Joint statement of the Chairs for the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan on the launch of negotiations between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban

Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister (EPP, DE) and Chair of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan Petras Auštrevičius (Renew, LT) issued the following statement today:

"We welcome the launch of the direct peace negotiations between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban. A comprehensive peace process is a precondition to end four decades of death and destruction and to bringing stability, security and peace to Afghanistan. Intra-Afghan negotiations are key to the peace process. The European Parliament will insist on the need to be inclusive in these Afghan-owned and Afghan-led negotiations. All political factions and civil society, including Afghan women, youth and minorities, should be involved in the talks and throughout the whole process. It is essential that everyone in Afghanistan feels represented during the negotiations and in the next government, in order to safeguard respect for human rights, notably women's and children's rights.

In this crucial moment, domestic stability is of utmost importance. We therefore condemn the eruption of violence during the last weeks and call upon all stakeholders in Afghanistan to put in place an immediate and permanent ceasefire. The responsible for the recent terrorist attacks and the continuous violence need to be held accountable. On behalf of our colleagues in the European Parliament, we express our sincerest condolences to the families of the victims and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. We assure the continuous solidarity and support of the European Union to the Afghan people, its government and security forces during this challenging endeavour. The European Parliament stands ready to facilitate and support the peace process with the aim of preserving the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, building upon the political, economic and social achievements of the people of Afghanistan." (*...*)