The EU’s Afghanistan Migration Response: Silent Victims of a Forgotten Conflict

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The EU’s Afghanistan Migration Response: Silent Victims of a Forgotten Conflict

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Thursday 21 April 2022

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The Network of Afghan Diaspora Organisations in Europe (NADOE) and Interface Demography Research Group at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in collaboration with the EU funded HumMingBird project and the UNHCR supported Afghan Refugee Committee in Belgium (ARCB) are organising a public event on the EU migration policies towards Afghanistan and the current humanitarian situation in Afghanistan on 21 April 2022. The event will include a keynote speech by Mr Alexander Sorel, Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of the European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) on the EU policies towards Afghan asylum seekers, a panel on the conditions for refugees and asylum seekers in Europe and a plenary session on the situation in Afghanistan.

It has been more than seven months since the Taliban took control of the Afghan government. Since then, the country has not only been suffering from dire poverty and humanitarian crisis due to decades of wars and conflicts but also from the current ruling regime. The recent unfortunate crisis in Ukraine has made the Taliban believe that the world is not watching. They try to take advantage of the situation and impose more restrictions on the population’s human rights. These particularly target women, who are gradually becoming domesticated, girls are not allowed to go to school, members of the previous government and security forces are facing retaliation including torture and executions, and all artists, journalists, and activists are silenced. The Taliban monitor the entire population through countrywide campaigns of house raids and inspections. During the event, the experts and members of the Afghan diaspora will share their experiences on what is truly happening in Afghanistan.

The EU has expressed that they would not recognise a regime in which human and especially women’s rights are not ensured, and that the EU will continue its humanitarian approach towards Afghan asylum seekers. Some member states have recently announced new policies for the recognition of Afghan asylum seekers. During the event, experts and researchers will discuss these policies and their consequences on the humanitarian situation of asylum seekers from Afghanistan. This moderated public debate will be an opportunity for the representatives of the EU and Afghan diaspora to have an insightful exchange of ideas on how to help and protect the Afghan asylum seekers with dignity.

The EU and member states have been the biggest allies of Afghanistan during the last 20 years, and they continue their support even after the fall of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the Taliban are benefiting vastly from the international aid meant to be for humanitarian purposes. During the event, Afghan women who lived under the previous Taliban regime will share their experience and ideas on how to deliver the aid to benefit the people in need.

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Draft programme

VUB, Building D, Room D.0.03, Bd de la Plaine 2, 1050 Ixelles, Brussels

Thursday 21 April 2022

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17.30 – 18.00 Registration desk
Part one: Migration and asylum  
18.00 – 18.10 Welcome address by Dr Tuba Bircan, Assistant Professor at VUB and Scientific coordinator of the H2020 project Hummingbird (Enhanced Migration Measures from a Multidimensional Perspective)
18.10 – 18.30 Keynote speech by Mr Alexander Sorel, Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of the EUAA
18.30 – 18.45 Q&A
18.45 – 19.30 Panel discussion and Q&A on the “Conditions of Afghan asylum seekers in Europe”
Moderator: Ahmad Wali Ahmad Yar, PhD researcher at VUB, Secretary-General, NADOE
Panellists: Ahmad Reshad Jalali, Policy Officer, European Council on Refugees and Exiles

Selma Benkhalifa, Specialist of migration law, Progressive Lawyers Network

Lina Vosyliute, Research fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Amandine Bach, Senior political advisor for The Left group, European

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Part two: Situation in Afghanistan  
19.30 – 19.45 Live update from Kabul – Ms Muzhda Tabesh Noor, assistant professor, civil
and women rights activist
19.45 – 20.20 Panel discussion on “Humanitarian and political situation in Afghanistan”
Moderator Teri Schultz, Freelance Reporter for NPR and Deutsche Welle, Podcast Host, Atlantic Council
Panellists Stella Ronner-Grubačić, Ambassador for Gender and Diversity, European
External Action Service (EEAS)


Djemila Benhabib, Political Scientist and Writer, Spokesperson for the Collectif
Laïcité Yallah

Lailuma Sadid, Senior Journalist, Women Rights Activist, president of NADOE

Ofran Barakhshani, Philosopher, Chairman of Gilgamesh Foundation


20.20 – 20.30 Q&A
20.30 – 20.40 A short play by Meena Qasimi, depicting the situation of Afghan women/families under the Taliban regime from her first-hand experience
20.40 – 20.50 Closing and appreciation ceremony for the women who assisted Afghan refugees
20.50 – 21.30 Iftar and dinner break by Afghan catering “Delice”

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For registrations, please click here!

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