Advocacy Groups Call on NATO Member States to Protect Afghan Civilians During Withdrawal of Forces

WASHINGTON – Today, Human Rights First and 16 partner organizations from seven countries published a letter calling on governments to act urgently to protect Afghan locally employed civilians (LECs) of NATO member states. With the imminent completion of the withdrawal of NATO and U.S. forces, Human Rights First and its partners call on NATO member states to provide immediate protection to Afghan staff and their families who are facing threats due to their affiliation with member states.

“Our collective security rests on our nations doing right by our Afghan allies who put so much faith in us over the last two decades,” said Chris Purdy, Director of the Veterans for American Ideals, a project of Human Rights First. “We cannot abandon them without consequence, we would lose so much if we do. This is our responsibility, we must act now.”

In the letter, Human Rights First and its partners note that threats against Afghan employees are increasing in light of the ongoing withdrawal. The organizations demand that NATO member states must apply flexible criteria for relocation schemes in light of the threats that LECs face, increase processing of relocation requests, and evacuate LECs when required by the security situation and volume of requests.

The signatory organizations are human rights advocates, advocates for Afghan interpreters, and trade associations for translators and interpreters. They work in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and internationally.

Click here to read signatory organizations’ statements.


Published on June 1, 2021


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