NEWS 2021.08.20

Protect human rights of all Afghans, establishing a democratic government and providing emergency humanitarian assistance

18 August 2021

In Afghanistan, as the U.S. is withdrawing, the Taliban troops have taken control of provincial capitals one after another, and early in the morning of 16 August, they invaded the capital Kabul and declared victory over the government. People are gathering at airports and other locations to save lives, or hiding and leaving their homes, to become internally displaced persons, or to flee the country. Unilateral conquest by force or threats is not acceptable under any circumstances, as it denies a peace process and a democratic process of establishing a government.

For the past 20 years since the fall of the Taliban regime, governments, international organizations and NGOs have been providing various kinds of assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Japanese NGOs have also provided emergency humanitarian assistance, educational projects, rural development, medical care, dialogues and advocacy for peace building, and have worked to establish a democratic governance system and realise a society where people can live in peace and where human rights are protected. The Japanese government was one of the first to lead the international community in supporting Afghanistan by holding the International Conference on the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, in Tokyo.

The Taliban’s conquest of the country could set back the democratic foundations of society that have been built up over the years. Japan and other governments, as well as international organisations, should play active roles in protecting the stability and people of Afghanistan.

We call on the international community, including governments and international organisations, to avoid the use of force, not to isolate Afghanistan, to provide urgent humanitarian assistance, protection for displaced persons and refugees, supports for the evacuation of local aid workers who wish to leave, and to promote calm dialogues with the Taliban. We also call on the Taliban to protect the security of civilians and human rights, including women’s rights, and to seek a peaceful solution through talks without violence or intimidation in order to establish a legitimate government in Afghanistan.

Keisuke Motoki, Chair, Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC)