The international community must hold the Taliban accountable for its actions, says the rights body
ARTICLE 19 along with 52 other civil society and journalists’ organizations have called on the member states of Group of 7 (G7) to protect and evacuate journalists and media workers in Afghanistan.
The group of leading industrial nations--Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the USA and the European Union (EU)--is preparing to hold an online summit on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, said a press release.
Ahead of this summit, the rights bodies operating have asked G7 countries to make a clear and explicit commitment to take journalists and media workers as an urgent and immediate priority, ensure their protection and evacuate them and their families, it added.
On Thursday, Faruq Faisel, regional director for ARTICLE 19 in South Asia, said: “ARTICLE 19 expresses solidarity with Afghan citizens, millions of whom are now living in abject fear.”
“We commit to work with partners to support journalists and media workers, human rights defenders and women’s rights activists, academics, writers, artists and educators, all of whom are at serious and immediate risk of targeted violence at the hands of the Taliban.’’
ARTICLE 19 also urged that the international community must ensure the continuation of the negotiations for a government based on the participation of all parties in Afghanistan and hold the Taliban accountable for its responsibilities to respect international human rights law.
The Taliban have shut down over 50 print, broadcast, and digital news media in the areas where they have seized control.
The number of targeted killings of journalists, including prominent women, carried out by the Taliban has been rising rapidly since May. In August, they executed the director of Afghanistan’s government media centre in Kabul.
Several media outlets have preemptively made the decision to close, while those remaining are forced to disseminate Taliban-approved narratives and propaganda to protect their lives.
Demands to G7:
>Make an explicit commitment to evacuate all journalists, media workers and media advocates at risk, and their families.
>Ease visa restrictions for all Afghan journalists, media workers, media advocates and their families seeking asylum.
>Simplify and secure the process for visa application, and collaborate with third countries when possible.
>Provide safe passage to and at the airport and other routes.
>Remain in Kabul in order to secure the airport and the possibility to evacuate beyond the August 31 deadline.
>Create an emergency fund for Afghan journalists and media workers
>Provide pathways for cash to enter the country.
>Repurpose development budget lines to address the emergency situation.
>Coordinate efforts within the United Nations system for immediate support.