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EU forces Afghanistan to drink ‘poisoned cup’ in exchange for aid

Trading the return of people who reached the EU to seek asylum to one of a country that is still clearly unstable, for vitally needed humanitarian and development aid is sordid and immoral.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

PRESS RELEASE

EU forces Afghanistan to drink ‘poisoned cup’ in exchange for aid

5 October 2016

• Spokespeople available

Trading Afghan government acceptance of returned Afghan nationals for humanitarian and development aid is an absolute disgrace, said Amnesty International of the announcement of a deal between the EU and Afghanistan.

“This represents another dark moment in EU foreign relations. Trading the return of people who reached the EU to seek asylum to one of a country that is still clearly unstable, for vitally needed humanitarian and development aid is sordid and immoral. This was a bullying manoeuvre to wash their hands of their responsibilities to Afghans at home and in Europe,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

“This Monday the Taliban briefly captured Kunduz, showing the incredibly difficult and uncertain situation that people in Afghanistan face. Such an attack shows that many Afghans have a strong claim to international protection or cannot be returned because of the security situation. It also shows that the EU’s claim that Afghanistan is safe for people to return is preposterous.”

“Afghanistan is already struggling to cope with more than one million people displaced within the country. While we welcome EU leaders’ pledges to support Afghanistan, returning Afghan nationals only adds to that pressure.

One Afghan Minister evocatively described this deal as a poisoned cup that the government was forced to drink. The only way forward is for Afghanistan and its international partners to place human rights - including of the many people displaced by conflict - at the centre of work toward the country’s future.”

This deal is essentially a readmission agreement, but by refusing to classify it as such, the Council and the European External Action Service (EEAS) are seeking to by-pass the normal procedure of adopting a formal agreement. Such an agreement would require the consent of the European Parliament which has the power to reject readmission agreements. This same method was used with the EU-Turkey deal.

Please call Alison Abrahams on +32 486 042 047 or +32 2 548 27 73 to arrange an interview.