© Amnesty International

Europe: Stunt outside European Parliament to demand Europe’s politicians keep Afghans safe

MEDIA ADVISORY

As European governments continue to endanger lives by forcibly sending people back to deadly conditions in Afghanistan, Amnesty International is mobilizing outside the European Parliament on Wednesday, as the delegation to Afghanistan meets with the civil liberties committee to discuss the return of Afghans from Europe. Amnesty International’s campaigner on Afghanistan will address the meeting inside the Parliament.

At the stunt, hundreds of red kites – symbolising the danger faced by Afghans when forced to return to Afghanistan – will be placed in front of the EP as a reminder to Europe’s governments of their duty to protect Afghans. This is one of many events taking place across Europe this week to protest returns.

“By forcing increasing numbers of people to return to Afghanistan over the past two years, European governments have put tens of thousands of lives at immediate risk. Afghanistan is not a safe place. To claim otherwise is a denial of the wholesale bloodshed being seen on the ground,” said Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s Regional Campaigner from the South Asia Regional Office.

“This week of action should serve as a reminder to both the EU and Europe’s member states of their responsibilities under international law. The continent’s leaders must never abandon those fleeing conflict and violence, let alone send them to danger.”

Other events taking place during the week include the following:

  • Amnesty Finland will run a stunt action on 9 October to coincide with the handover of a petition to the Finnish Minister of Interior.
  • Amnesty Netherlands groups will join the demonstration organised by the grassroots platform ‘Don’t Send Afghans Back’ in the city of Utrecht on 6 October
  • Amnesty Austria will join a vigil in front of the Ministry of the Interior on 8 October as part of a civil society coalition campaign to end the forcible return of people to Afghanistan (#sichersein action week)

Amnesty International is organizing this European week of action in cooperation with the grassroots platform ‘Don’t Send Afghans Back’ and with the NGOs Save the Children and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles for the Brussels events.

Background

According to UN figures released in July, Afghanistan is the second most dangerous country in the world, with 1,692 people killed in the first six months of 2018 – more than at any comparable period since records began being compiled a decade ago. Over that same period, 3,430 people were also injured. More than 10,000 people have been killed or injured each year in Afghanistan since 2014.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Kabul is no longer a safe internal flight alternative for those fleeing conflict or persecution in their area of origin.

Despite this, some European countries have resumed or increased the number of forced returns of failed Afghan asylum-seekers.

Follow #KeepAfghansSafe and #DontSendAfghansBack on Twitter. For more information or to arrange an interview contact: Alison Abrahams at alison.abrahams@amnesty.org or Sorina Juglan at Sorina.juglan@amnesty.org or call +32 2 548 2773