LAHORE: Panelists at the session on “The impact of the border closure on Afghan refugees” at the Asma Jahangir 2021 conference on Sunday said the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan since the fall of the government has hit human rights hard fundamentals. More than 65% of the Afghan population faced a critical situation and challenges such as displacement, poverty, hunger, violence and lawlessness.
Senior Journalist, Author and Analyst Zahid Husain was the moderator while Androulla Kaminara Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Orzala Nemat Founder of the Women and Youth Leadership Forum and Simbal Khan Regional Expert Consultant on Peace Issues and UNDP security were included in the panel.
The Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting was also invited to a round table, but was unable to attend the conference.
Speaking via video link, Orzala Nemant said more than 30 million people are deprived of basic human rights. Colleges, universities and schools are closed by the Taliban-led government. Government employees cannot receive their salary. The international community and the neighboring countries of Afghanistan should play their part in restoring basic human rights and accelerating sincere efforts to end serious human rights violations.
While paying glowing tributes to Asma Jehangir’s efforts for the protection of human rights, she declared “without a doubt that she was the hero and the champion as she fought for the rights of the disadvantaged segment of society”
Simbal Khan said that, unfortunately, no law or policy exists for border closures. The absence of legislation is a big obstacle and a stumbling block on the way to open borders. Therefore, he said, there is an urgent need for clear legislation and policy regarding border closures.
He added that discriminatory citizenship law should be abolished. Afghan refugees could not obtain citizenship even after spending 20 years in Pakistan.
Androulla Kaminara, European Union ambassador to Pakistan, said human rights violations have increased in Afghanistan since Taliban militants took control of the country. She added that an increasingly brutal conflict is worsening the already serious human rights violations in the country.
She said it was horrifying to see the rapid escalation of human suffering and displacement under the Taliban regime. She said 18 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and at least a third of the population does not have enough to eat and are suffering from acute hunger.
She said half of children under five suffer from acute malnutrition. And when a child suffers from malnutrition, it also means that he does not have access to enough food, health, water, hygiene, sanitation. And, too, malnutrition has a severe and irreversible impact on children. So, this is something we cannot let go on, she said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021