Tribune. It was in the middle of August. Kabul had just fallen into the hands of the Taliban. It started with a few phone calls: colleagues and friends asked us to help one of their relatives, Afghan brothers or sisters, to evacuate them as quickly as possible from Afghanistan, before the American troops withdrew on August 31.
So we mobilized. We, that is to say artists, journalists, lawyers, researchers, magistrates, human rights defenders grouped together in associations or unions based in France. Each on our side, we worked tirelessly, often with few staff and resources, to identify and establish lists of people in danger who contacted us, desperate. These lists, we gave them to the French government, to request an evacuation, support and assistance from France.
A help that some of us counted on at first, strong in the words you said, Mr. President, during your speech of August 16 : “Many Afghans, defenders of rights, artists, journalists, activists, are today threatened because of their engagement. We will help them because it is France’s honor to be alongside those who share our values. “
Today, three months after your speech, what about this promise for “The honor of France” ?
Because since August 31, despite the horror, despite the urgency, only a handful of Afghan citizens have been evacuated by France. A derisory number despite the commitments made …
Because since August 31, despite the horror, despite the urgency, our country continues to give Afghan citizens the same treatment as before, even if it means flouting its international commitments.
Chased, detained, threatened with deportation
7,000 kilometers from Kabul and Kandahar, here in France, Afghans continue to be hunted down, detained and threatened with deportation. Why ? To be handed over to the Taliban, a regime not recognized by France? Others continue to be turned away at our borders or wait for the issuance of visas, “frozen” sometimes for more than a year. Visas to which their relatives are however entitled under family reunification!
These practices have long ruined France’s reputation as a land of asylum and reception. Also, in the face of horror, in the face of urgency, a change of policy is necessary. You said it yourself on August 16: “Our bonds of friendship are old and deep” with the Afghan people. Today, these people expect from France something other than inaction and evasion.
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Afghan refugees: “Faced with the horror, faced with the emergency, a change of policy is necessary”