EU leaders must ensure immediate protection of Afghans: Oxfam

Published: 18th August 2021

In response to the meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers on 17 August on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the exchange on the topic in the meeting of EU Home Affairs on 18 August, Oxfam calls on European governments to swiftly adopt urgent measures to protect all Afghans in need of assistance. 

Raphael Shilhav, Oxfam EU migration expert, said:  

“We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan, posing multiplying threats to Afghan people, particularly women and girls. We are urging the EU and European governments to ensure both a swift humanitarian response and the urgent evacuation of people at risk, who are seeking to flee Afghanistan safely and with dignity. 

Neighbouring countries are likely to be hosting the largest number of refugees. Richer countries have the responsibility to provide them with urgent support to ensure the protection of anyone fleeing fighting or persecution. No government should prevent Afghans from reaching safety in any way, and must assist them wherever they can. European governments have an absolute duty to stop any forced returns to Afghanistan and afford protections to Afghani nationals."

Notes to editors

On 15 August, the Taliban took control of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, while evacuations of foreign nationals and some Afghani nationals continue with international coordination. 

On 17 August, HR/VP Josep Borrell Fontelles held an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council. In a press conference following the meeting, Mr. Borrell expressed the EU’s priorities to evacuate national Afghanis who had worked for the EU Delegation, concern for the safety of Afghans, as well as the EU’s intention to engage with authorities in Kabul "to prevent a potential humanitarian and migratory disaster". 

On 18 August, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, convenes a meeting of Home Affairs Ministers in which the situation in Afghanistan will also be discussed. 

Spokespeople are available in Brussels. Oxfam is unable to provide updates on the situation inside Afghanistan at this moment. 

Contact information

Sarah Abou-Chleih in Belgium |

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