Through political and financial support, the EU remains committed to on-going efforts to promote and protect human rights in Afghanistan. The EU acknowledges the steps taken by the Afghan Government in this regard, namely through the adoption of the new Penal Code, antitorture legislation and legislation on elimination of violence against women. However, serious human rights challenges remain and further efforts are required in order to ensure full respect for human rights, in particular strengthening the effective implementation of policy and legislation at all levels across the country. Special consideration needs to be given to the full enjoyment of children's and women's rights, including measures to prevent violence against children and women, to prevent forced marriage, to combat torture, ill treatment and discrimination; and to protect human rights defenders, journalists and the rights of persons belonging to minorities.
The EU remains fully committed to supporting the implementation of Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, the implementation of the law on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Women's Economic Empowerment National Priority Programme.
Following from the Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD), the EU and Afghanistan set up a Special Working Group on Human Rights, good governance and migration. The dialogue is results-oriented and there is a particular focus on the rights of women and children.
The European Union and Afghanistan are engaged in a constructive dialogue on migration aimed at building a long-term partnership. The EU provides international protection for many Afghans who have been forced to flee the country, while it is also working closely with the Afghan Government to develop cooperation on the return and readmission of irregular migrants. In October 2016, the EU and Afghanistan agreed on the Joint Way Forward on migration
, which steps up cooperation in terms of High-Level Dialogues and a Joint Working Group.
The EU funds a number of projects that address the root causes of migration and forced displacement, support returnees and host communities and improve migration management in Afghanistan, thus contributing to the overall development of the country.
In the last years, there have been two special measures adopted that allocated a sum of €218.6 million for Afghans - be it in in their home country or in the region. These measures contribute to the reintegration of returnees in Afghanistan by supporting registration and documentation and providing training for returnees to learn new skills and thereby earn a decent standard of living. There is a €25-million UNICEF programme that focuses on the specific needs of Afghan children on the move, as well as a UNESCO project organising cultural activities for Afghan refugees and the internally displaced. Other measures support housing and land allocation, particularly in areas of high return of displaced people. Projects aimed at improving the national migration management systems are also financed this way. In the two decades since 2001, the EU has allocated about €51.8 million to the programme on Aid to Uprooted People that supports sustainable integration and increased resilience through measures on land tenure recognition, settlement upgrading, education, vocational training, income generation and legal assistance.
EU Country Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society in Afghanistan 2018-2020
On 26 August 2018, the EU and the Member States approved the EU Country Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society in Afghanistan 2018-2020. The EU country-level roadmap for CSO engagement in Afghanistan refers to more structured participation of CSOs, both in public policy reform and service delivery, as well as conflict prevention and peace-building. Also the Afghan government has put more emphasis on civil society as a key partner in legal reform and strategic planning. In recent years, Afghan CSOs have become increasingly active in legislative and policy processes, advocating for their expertise to be taken into account. Civil society in Afghanistan continues to play a role in conflict prevention and disputes resolution at the local level, whereas civil society has much less of a role in the peace processes.
Since 2003, the EU has provided over half a billion Euros in grants to non-state actors operating in Afghanistan, including for providing basic services to the population. Support for CSOs also aims to strengthen the capacity of local civil society to carry out its oversight and anti-corruption roles, and given women a stronger voice in political processes. Human rights, with a particular focus on women's participation in society and the peace process, remains a key aspect of the EU's engagement with Afghan civil society. Other projects support Afghan media as well as human rights defenders.