Peservation and further strengthening of the democratic and human rights gains of the last 20 years is indispensable during and after the peace process, EU and Afghanistan said in a meeting on Wednesday.
The virtual meeting of EU-Afghanistan Special Working Group on Human Rights, Good Governance and Migration was co-chaired by Ms Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Action Service and by Mr Meerwais Nab, Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan.
The EU and Afghanistan agreed on the importance of an enhanced promotion of inclusivity in the peace talks, notably the involvement of women, youth, minorities, internally displaced persons, refugees and victims of war, to ensure an ownership of the process by all Afghans, according to a joint press release.
In the areas of women and children’s rights, the necessity to enforce legislation against widespread violence and harmful practices was highlighted, as well as the need to address discrimination against religious minorities.
They expressed grave concern about the continuing high level of violence, and condemned the increasing number of targeted killings of media workers, civil society activists and law enforcement officials, who are essential bastions of a democratic and open society.
The EU called on the Government of Afghanistan to provide for the security of these important actors in society, as well as conduct thorough investigations, bring the culprits to justice and keep the Afghan public fully informed about the measures taken.
The EU also recalled the imperative of respecting and promoting International Humanitarian Law to protect civilians in conflict by all parties to the conflict. “The protection of civilians, medical and education facilities as well as humanitarian workers, cannot wait for peace. The parties stressed that only an immediate cessation of violence would restore confidence in the sincerity of the Taliban for a political settlement to end the war.”