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Romanian civil society asks for solidarity with Afghanistan

The Romanian civil society quickly reacted to the rapid deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan. Over 400 civil society organizations are asking the state to take action in support of the Afghan citizens that may be in danger. 

The movement was initiated and built around the Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees (CDMiR), which had been created in the framework of the NIEM project. The joint press release and open letter, published on 17 August 2021, underlines the moral and legal obligations of Romania, and any other democratic country, to support the people of Afghanistan, and in particular women, girls and vulnerable persons, facing the revival of a regime that had proved to be tyrannical and oppressive in the past. 

Romania was one of the countries participating with ground soldiers, in the framework of the NATO intervention and support personnel, in the last decade. The last Romanian soldiers returned from Afghanistan in June 2021 and there are still Romanian civilians on the ground in Kabul, waiting for evacuation. 

In this context, the civil society, led by CDMiR, asked the state to take action in three dimensions:

1.    Supporting Afghan citizens who were involved in the Romanian Army's operations in Afghanistan. Translators or support staff are now exposed to bloody repression. The civil society is calling on the Government and the Parliament to introduce in the emergency procedure legislation that would allow the rapid granting of protection in Romania for these persons and their families. The NGOs are also calling on the public institutions to facilitate their departure from Afghanistan and their safe arrival to Romania. 

2.    The suspension of return measures in Afghanistan for persons that are not granted asylum in Romania. There is no doubt that Afghanistan is no longer a safe country, if it ever has been. The letter from CDMiR is highlighting the particular risks to which Afghan women and children are exposed, as well as vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, members of the LGBT + community. This measure was also recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

3.    Invest in the protection of Afghans seeking asylum in Romania, with special measures for women, children and vulnerable people. International reports speak of a new exodus of the population from Afghanistan, through the Taliban offensive. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that about 300,000 people have fled the violence, and these numbers are growing. Many of them will head to Europe. CDMiR underlines the legal and moral obligations to ensure that these people have all the guarantees necessary for a fair and equitable asylum procedure, including personal dignity. In this regard, Romania must prepare by increasing the response capacity and resources allocated to the asylum system and the integration of beneficiaries of international protection. 

The letter was signed by over 400 organizations, including the largest network of NGOs working on social services, anti-trafficking and human rights.

The letter also speaks about the duty of the civil society to hold accountable and call on political leaders to do justice and to intervene with measures so that human rights are protected and respected, and those in need of humanitarian support and assistance receive all the necessary help.

The member organizations of the Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees have a diverse activity, from direct services to migrants to research and monitoring of public services. Together, they work to ensure that asylum procedures and the integration process respect both fundamental human rights and the natural concern of Romanian citizens for their own well-being. CDMiR is expressing its full availability to participate with the expertise of its members in this endeavor.

The letter and the full list of supporters are available on the CDMiR website (in Romanian).