Statement by ministers Joly, Hussen and Miller on second year since the fall of Kabul

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August 15, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development, and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today issued the following statement:

“The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August 2021 has led to a political, economic and humanitarian crisis affecting millions of people.

“Following 2 decades of gains in democracy, human rights, education and health, the last 2 years have seen a sharp deterioration for the country and its people. Women and girls have had their human rights systematically undermined with restrictions on their freedom of movement, dress, access to education, and ability to work. Ethnic and religious minorities, as well as other vulnerable groups, continue to face violence and threats. Under the Taliban, Afghanistan has once again become a safe haven for a number of terrorist groups, with terrible consequences for Afghanistan, and for regional and international security.

“In the face of these crises, Canada continues to provide critical support to the Afghan people. We remain on track to meet one of the largest commitments of any country by resettling at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghans to Canada by the end of this year. To date, over 36,000 Afghans have arrived. This includes women leaders, human rights defenders, individuals from persecuted ethnic and religious minorities, journalists and LGBTQI+ individuals, as well as Afghans who closely supported Canada during its 20-year presence in Afghanistan.

“Canada also continues to deliver international assistance to the most vulnerable Afghans affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis. In 2022, Canada provided more than $140 million in humanitarian assistance and $70 million in development assistance to support Afghans in need in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries. Canada’s international assistance in Afghanistan has been and will remain aligned with our Feminist International Assistance Policy.

“Canada has also amended its Criminal Code terrorist financing provisions through Bill C-41, which introduced a humanitarian exemption and an authorization regime to shield applicants from criminal liability for certain necessary activities in areas controlled by a terrorist group. These amendments give significant additional flexibility that will facilitate crucial assistance to Afghanistan and in other similar contexts by the Government of Canada and Canadian aid organizations.

“Canada has been relentless in advocating for the full realization of the human rights of all Afghans, particularly the rights of Afghan women and girls. To this end, Canada was proud to join with 90 other countries in co-sponsoring UN Resolution 2681, which condemns the Taliban’s decision to ban women from working and calls for the reversal of discriminatory policies. We will continue to work with our partners to advance women’s rights in Afghanistan, draw attention to the Taliban’s horrific and systematic violations of human rights and call for a strong international response to these violations.

“On this day, our message to all Afghans is unequivocal: we stand by you in your aspirations for a stable, secure and peaceful Afghanistan, where everyone can realize their full potential and live free of fear and oppression.” 

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