Addressing Afghanistan’s Crisis: UAI at the Italian Parliament

On July 2, United Against Inhumanity (UAI) participated in a crucial hearing at the Italian Parliament, addressing the dire situation in Afghanistan. Convened by MP Laura Boldrini, chair of the Human Rights Committee, the session included presentations from Emergency, INTERSOS, UAI, and Afgana, an Italian advocacy NGO.

In her introductory remarks, Boldrini highlighted the significance of the discussion, emphasizing the need for immediate and sustained humanitarian efforts. Representatives from each organization provided insights into various facets of the crisis:

Rossella Miccio, CEO of Emergency, and Giovanni Visone, Head of Communications for INTERSOS, detailed the worsening health and humanitarian conditions in Afghanistan. They underscored the increasing impoverishment, escalating needs, and the critical barriers to access. Despite these challenges, both Miccio and Visone noted opportunities to enhance humanitarian and development initiatives.

Antonio Donini, a member of UAI’s governance team, focused on the arbitrary confiscation of the Afghan Central Bank’s external, sovereign reserves. He argued that withholding these funds amounts to economic punishment of the Afghan population. Donini stressed the moral and pragmatic need to recapitalize the Afghan Central Bank (DAB) to restore economic functionality. He condemned the act of starving a population as a form of economic warfare.

Giuliano Battiston of Afgana addressed gender, geopolitical issues, and the importance of diplomatic engagement through “piccoli passi” (small steps). He emphasized that such engagement does not imply recognition of the regime but is essential for supporting the Afghan people.

The main asks from the four organizations were:

  1. Advocate for Unfreezing Seized Funds: Italy should publicly support the unfreezing of Afghan Central Bank funds, starting with those held in Italian banks.
  2. Promote Pragmatic Dialogue: Italy should engage in flexible and constructive dialogue with Afghan authorities to support humanitarian action and key services.
  3. Increase Support to NGOs: Italy should enhance funding for NGOs with strong field experience to boost humanitarian and community-based development projects.

During the subsequent Q&A session, Boldrini echoed the critical points made by the NGOs. She highlighted the forgotten plight of Afghanistan, referring to it as “Italy’s longest war,” and criticized the Italian government for lacking a clear strategy post-NATO withdrawal. Boldrini raised questions about the low response to the UN humanitarian appeal, the complexities of working with the Taliban, and the persecution of minorities. She stressed the importance of addressing the frozen funds issue and supporting Afghan women’s rights.

Boldrini concluded the hearing by announcing her intention to pose a formal question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, seeking clarification on Italy’s strategy for Afghanistan. She emphasized the need to “do no more harm” and to support Afghan human rights and development aid, reiterating that dialogue does not equate to regime recognition.

Press Release by MP Boldrini: Link

Article Translation in Lettera 22: Afghanistan is back in the Spotlight

This hearing underscored the urgent need for international support and a balanced diplomatic approach to address Afghanistan’s ongoing crisis, ensuring the protection and development of its people.

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