The following statement was issued by Christa Schweng, president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Dimitris Dimitriadis, president of the EESC section for External Relations
- We express deep concern for the events that followed the US and NATO retreat from Afghanistan, mourn the brutal loss of human lives and call for urgent action to avoid further humanitarian crisis and setbacks in the fields of rule of law, fundamental freedoms and human rights, especially the rights of women, children and ethnic minorities;
- We stress the need for the European Union to demonstrate more assertiveness on the international scene, to take a more active role in preserving the international order and to deepen its ties with the United States and other like-minded allies on developing a clear roadmap and a common strategy on the future of Afghanistan;
- We warn about the dangers of a complete disappearance of civil society in Afghanistan and urge the European Union and its Member States to continue supporting the Afghan civil society in and outside Afghanistan;
- We call on the afghan authorities to ensure the safety of local and international civil society organisations (CSOs), NGOs and humanitarian organisations, including journalists and human rights defenders;
- We stress that cooperation with the neighbouring countries including Pakistan, Iran, China, India and Russia is crucial in order to achieve the stabilisation of Central Asia and to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches the vulnerable populations, in particular women and children, in Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries;
- We stress that it is a moral duty for Europe to help the Afghan people: based on our values, Europeans should provide humanitarian aid, protect those committed to human rights and democracy and show solidarity with civil society organisations and local activists.