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The petition #StandUpWithAfghanWomen!

To the President of the European Commission and the European Commission,
to the President of the European Parliament, to the Chair of the Subcommittee DROI (Human Rights) of the European Parliament and to the European Parliament,
to the President of the European Council and the European Council (or the heads of state or government of all EU countries),
to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to the EU Special Representative for Human Rights,
to the Secretary General of the United Nations, to the Official Spokesperson
to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
to the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council,


The current Taliban government that took power with the fall of Kabul in August 2021 does not carry a different ideology from that proclaimed in 1996. During their four years of power, there have been many documented cases of human rights abuses, suppression of women’s and girls’ rights, intimidation of journalists and of those who raised their voices to denounce abuses. Afghan cities have become prisons, especially for women who are forced to stay inside their homes. Women activists must live and act in hiding and many have no choice but to flee to survive. These women should be guaranteed a safe way to migrate. The whole of Afghan society is hostage to the Taliban repression and severely hit by the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The Taliban politicians currently in power and the Jehadi supported by the Western powers that had occupied the Country for the past 20 years, bear the full responsibility for the situation. Since the late 1970s, US and their allies have supported and supplied fundamentalist forces with weapons and funding through jointed operations often led by regional powers that also fan the flames of inter and intra-ethnic conflicts to extend their influence over a territory of extreme geostrategic importance.
We call on European governments and the United Nations:
The Taliban government should not be recognised either legally or de facto, because:
● Recognition would result in the legitimization of the government and an increased repression of the freedom to express dissent and internal opposition, as we have already seen with the atrocities committed by the ruling Taliban between 1996 and 2001 (see Amnesty International Report and Human Rights Watch Reports) . After 15 August 2021, many women are demonstrating publicly against the new Taliban regime and are being abducted and killed without the international press denouncing this cruel repression. Alongside this new form of protest, a secular, progressive and anti-fundamentalist resistance continues to act in total secrecy since the Soviet invasion. With a de jure and/or de facto recognition of the Taliban regime, an entire generation of women and men, who represent the only future of peace for their country, are doomed to disappear. 
● A de jure or de facto recognition of the Taliban government would not make the distribution of humanitarian aid any more effective than it already is through UN agencies and Afghan and international non-governmental organisations. These organizations have been bringing aid to the population in different areas of the country for years. 
● Funds and aid channelled through the Taliban government would not reach the population; they would instead be used for their own repressive civil, military and police apparatus. Remote rural areas would continue to remain without any support due to the lack of infrastructure: twenty years of Western military intervention have not helped to solve this problem. Evidence shows that the US-led NATO occupation has made the country completely dependent on foreign aid. Corruption in Afghanistan (top in international rankings) has never decreased under previous governments and continues to this day.
● The Taliban government’s provisions violate international human rights treaties that still bind the Afghan state  . 
● The seizure of power that took place following an agreement (Doha, February 2020) between the United States and the Taliban has not and cannot result, in any democratic consultation of the population. Afghan people are denied the freedom of expression that is the basis of any democratic process.
We call for initiatives to be taken so that the Afghan people can decide their own destiny freed from foreign interference; and for incisive action to be promoted to support the democratic and anti-fundamentalist forces that have been operating in extremely difficult conditions in Afghanistan for decades. 
To this end, we call on European Union and the United Nations to exert pressure in all international contexts so that, in compliance with UN Human Rights Conventions, Treaties and Instruments, in the spirit of the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2020-2024 on Human Rights and Democracy and the European Union’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime:
● States that have aided and continue to support Taliban militias and other terrorist and fundamentalist groups undergo economic sanctions; 
● those members of the Taliban government already on the UN terrorism blacklist (around 17 of the 33 members of the first cabinet established on 7/9/2021) are also included on the EU list of persons responsible for serious human rights violations and a travel ban to the EU, and a ban on making European funds available are applied to them.
We demand that Afghan progressive political forces, such as RAWA and HAMBASTAGI, be recognised as political interlocutors by the European Union and national governments in Europe. We also call for their representatives to receive all the necessary support and protection from the international community at home and abroad. 
Finally, we call for no representative of previous governments to be recognised as a political interlocutor. Among these politicians there are corrupt people, linked to fundamentalist parties, active promoters and perpetrators of extreme and systematic violence.
We demand that the Taliban government be monitored by the Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council to verify compliance with the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
We also call on the European authorities, in cooperation with UN agencies, to establish an independent international investigation body, as well as the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan. This independent international investigation body must have the power to collect documentation and evidence on the ground, to ascertain the responsibilities of the government and fundamentalist forces in the field of human rights violations, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Any violation must be submitted to the attention of the International Criminal Court.
We also call for the full participation of Afghan and international human rights activists in this independent international investigation body. The members of that body must be  honest, impartial and independent. 
It should not include representatives of previous Afghan governments or persons associated with them.

1. “The fate of thousands hanging in the balance: Afghanistan’s fall into the hands of the Taliban” Amnesty International,” 9/21/21.
“Afghanistan: Taliban Deprive Women of Livelihoods, Identity” Human Rights Watch, 1/18/22

2. “Afghanistan is a party to important multilateral treaties, including the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Statute of the International Criminal Court. There is no evidence that the new regime has denounced them and therefore they continue to bind Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a member of the United Nations and other bodies that are part of the UN system. Until 2020, it was a member of the Human Rights Council and was elected as a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, which is a body of the 45-member UN Economic and Social Council. The Commission deals with gender equality and should promote the empowerment of women in social life. Afghanistan’s mandate expires in 2025)’ see ‘Recognising the Taliban government is an unnecessary act’ International Affairs, 13/9/2021.