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ECR

Statement of the ECR Group on the situation of Christians in Afghanistan

8 September 2021

Statement of the ECR Group on the situation of Christians in Afghanistan

We are particularly concerned about the situation facing religious minorities in Afghanistan. Even before the withdrawal of Americans and other allies from Afghanistan, these minorities found themselves professing and living their religions in a hostile environment. Now, they risk being subjected to severe violence by the Taliban.

About ten thousand persons have converted from Islam to Christianity, which is - according to Sharia law - a crime punishable by death.

Despite great difficulties, since 2001 - with the arrival of NATO forces - the Christian community has grown and strengthened. However, since Kabul fell, the community has dispersed, rightfully fearing repercussions as worrying reports of killings, harassment and intimidation of Christians emerge. Many of these Christians will be forced to emigrate to neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, whose blasphemy law claims new victims every day. We fear a repeat of the Syrian scenario, where Christianity has faded, reducing from 1.2 million followers ten years ago to an estimated 550,000 in 2021.

We feel that there has not been enough attention from the international community regarding this matter. Hence, we call for stringent conditions to be imposed on the Taliban before sitting down at any negotiating table that may lead to the recognition of their government, especially on the issues of women and religious minorities.

In light of this tragedy, the proposed solution are so-called ‘humanitarian corridors’. These are not a sustainable option and would be yet another defeat for Afghans - among them, Christians and women - who must be free to live peacefully in their homeland without being forced to emigrate. Therefore, we expect new and realistic solutions primarily from the United Nations, but also the European Council, the G7 and the G20, which do not include a mass evacuation from Afghanistan.

European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR Group) in the European Parliament

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