Freedom of expression, in all its forms, is the very essence of democracy. Only with a thriving, free and independent media landscape, we can hold governments, businesses and society at large accountable. And precisely for this fundamental right, far too often, journalists and media workers are attacked, persecuted, harassed, or intimidated for carrying out their work. Most journalists are not wounded in the heat of war coverage, but suffer violence in our immediate surroundings. In 2018 alone, 94 journalists and media staff were killed in work-related incidents as reported by the International Federation of Journalists. Hundreds more have been subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention without ever having been tried in a court.
Special Envoys and Special Representatives of the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States of America met at EU Headquarters in Brussels on 22 October 2019. Respectful of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, participants exchanged views on the current status of the Afghan peace process and discussed ways to support the Afghan people’s desire for a lasting peace.
On 10 October 2019 Afghanistan achieved another milestone in its efforts to use global markets to drive growth and job creation when the cabinet chaired by President Ashraf Ghani endorsed the country’s first national trade policy, which sets out a five-year agenda for overcoming challenges that Afghan businesses face in tapping into international value chains.
With European prosperity and Asian peace and security closely connected, the European Union has decided to strengthen its security cooperation in and with Asia. This is also in line with the steps taken by the EU in the past years to strengthen its role as a global security provider: Europe and Asia share a fundamental interest in upholding the rules-based international system, as well as the view that the challenges the world faces today go beyond national borders and cannot be tackled alone. The EU-Asia security partnership is therefore both desirable and necessary.
The European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe firmly oppose the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment contrary to the right to life. The death penalty means revenge, not justice, and its abolition contributes to the enhancement of human dignity.
The Afghan Presidential election that took place on 28 September has proven once again the commitment of the Afghan people to furthering the democratic path of their country, even if this meant putting their lives in danger.