Human rights and refugee groups are urging to the European Union to step up its protection for Afghans trying to flee their country following the Taliban’s takeover last month.
“The EU should be sharing, rather than shirking, the responsibility to offer them protection,” Amnesty International, Caritas Europa, and 22 other organizations said in a joint statement on September 16.
The groups called on the 27 EU member states to “expand safe pathways for people in need of protection, including through an ambitious and additional resettlement programme for Afghan refugees.”
There was no immediate reaction from the EU, whose asylum agency EASO reported on September 16 that applications by Afghans increased for the fifth consecutive month to 7,300 in July -- before the Western-backed government in Kabul fell.
Nearly 1,200 were unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan, according to EASO.
More than half of applications by Afghans were rejected in June.
Tens of thousands of Afghans fled the country after the Taliban toppled the Western-backed government in Kabul a month ago.
Thousands more people want to leave the war-torn and drought-stricken country.
In Europe, some governments have raised alarms over a possible repeat of events in 2015, when well over 1 million people poured into the continent from Syria as well as other conflict zones and hardship countries.
“We regret the misleading and alarmist rhetoric expressed by some European leaders in the past weeks,” the groups said in their statement.
They said such talk “may raise barriers to refugees’ integration and inclusion in European societies” and could stoke “fears about a non-existent crisis at Europe’s borders.”
“Iran and Pakistan currently host nearly 90% of displaced Afghans – over two million registered refugees in total – and should not have to bear this responsibility alone,” according to the statement.