The twentieth annual conference of the Federation of Afghan Refugee Organizations in Europe (FAROE) was held virtually on November 7, 2020. Over a hundred women and men of the Afghan diaspora, including academics, independent figures, and representatives of Afghan refugees from the European Union, Afghanistan, United States, and Canada, attended the conference. Consequent to presentations and ensuing debates, the participants emphasized the following points in relation to current developments in Afghanistan:
- The participants affirm their firm belief
in the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in
particular the principles that
- all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights;
- everyone is fully and equally entitled to the rights and freedoms envisaged in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without discrimination as to race, color, sex, religion, political or other belief, social background, or wealth.
- It can confidently be asserted that the Afghan people yearn for an independent, free, democratic, self-reliant, and advanced Afghanistan. We Afghan refugees aspire to a victim-centered approach to peace in our land of birth that would include justice for victims of crimes committed during the past 42 years, and put an end to the culture of impunity for potentates. We reject the “peace” brought to our people through political solutions imposed by foreign countries catering to their own vested interests.
- The resurgence of the Taliban, with their scorched-earth policies and opposition to democratic principles and standards, has intensified violence in the country. The ambiguity of the Doha-agreed mechanism of the Taliban’s participation in Afghanistan’s political structure has endangered the implementation of the principles of peaceful coexistence and political tolerance in the country.
- The text of the US-Taliban agreement contains terms that feed the Taliban’s hopes for the revival of their “emirate”. The Taliban have intensified their war and campaign of bloodshed with the aim of attaining such an objective. The daily toll of civilian casualties and the free rein given to different terrorists groups in Afghanistan are a testimony to such a strategy.
- The resurgence of the Taliban undoubtedly sets the grounds for a proxy war by neighboring countries in Afghanistan. The risk of such a proxy war will increase manifold if the current government loses control of the situation. We call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire in Afghanistan.
- We Afghan refugees believe that despite the honorable and tormented Afghan people’s longing for peace after 42 years of war and foreign invasion, they are not willing to trade their civil and human rights and freedoms, and the independence of their country, for an imposed political solution.
- If the Taliban persist in their current views and on continuing on the path of war and bloodshed, the antagonism between their position and that of the people, especially youth and women (who comprise the majority of the country’s population), on social and political rights leaves little hope for a meaningful peace.
- In the event of the realization of either of two horrific scenarios, i.e., a Taliban Emirate dispensation or a proxy war by neighboring countries, the risk of women’s rights becoming seriously restricted or totally repudiated is ominously predictable. The conference participants are particularly concerned about this danger and call for international guarantees for Afghan women’s rights. The participants emphasize that Afghans living in Europe and North America need to lobby their host governments to press for Afghan women’s rights.
- The conference emphasizes the role of the Afghan diaspora, and insists that if either of the horrific scenarios mentioned above materializes, a great burden of duty to their country of birth and its people will fall on the shoulders of the Afghan diaspora, particularly those living in Europe, for which they need to be prepared.
- The first step for the Afghan diaspora in Europe and North America towards fulfilling their mission as mouthpieces for the people of Afghanistan and for giving voice to the Afghan people’s needs and tribulations would be to promote cooperation and coordination between Afghan organizations abroad and develop and strengthen collaboration and concordance between such organizations and Afghan media outlets outside the country. The conference participants call on FAROE to be the contact and coordination center in this regard.
- The conference expresses grave concern over the danger of the destruction of Afghanistan’s historical and cultural relics by the Taliban, and calls for international guarantees for the preservation of this heritage.
This resolution is based on minutes and notes taken by a resolution drafting committee of speakers’ views and debates among participants, and has been drawn up in 11 articles as presented above. This resolution was adopted subsequent to no opposing or modifying views being received within the allotted time.