The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has welcomed the Government commitment to offer 150 Afghans humanitarian admission to Ireland, but says the offer is insufficient to protect refugees fleeing persecution.
The Taliban’s recent takeover has placed thousands of Afghan trade unionists, journalists, civil society activists, and human rights defenders at serious risk of reprisals. ICTU has called for urgent international action to prevent further human rights abuses.
It says Ireland must take a lead, including through its membership of the UN Security Council. And it wants increased Irish development assistance for independent civil society organisations and trade unions in the region.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently spoke of “chilling” reports of human rights violations against women and young girls.
Congress is supporting a call from Irish-based migrant, asylum and refugee advocates for the Government to agree to resettle at least 1,000 Afghan refugees. And, with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) it has offered assistance to Afghan trade unionists.
Even prior to the Taliban takeover, trade union rights were grossly violated in Afghanistan, where the authorities were determined to deprive workers of union representation and oppress the work of trade unions in their fight to defend workers' rights.
Congress has raised alarm at threats to the leaders of the National Union of Afghanistan Workers and Employees (NUAWE) and has called on the Government to grant asylum to NUAWE leaders and their families.
Yvonne O’ Callaghan, Congress Global Solidarity chairperson, said that countries “must be willing to assume their responsibilities” under international law to protect and accept refugees.
According to UNHCR there are currently 96,000 Afghan people in neighbouring countries in need of protection.
You can support the people of Afghanistan by signing the Amnesty Ireland petition.