No chance of ties with Afghanistan being resumed, says Belgian government
One year after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, Belgium has seen a clear deterioration in human rights and fundamental freedoms, according to a statement issued on Friday by the ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is no prospect of resuming bilateral relations with the country.
Women and girls are gradually being excluded from public life by a multitude of measures, concludes Foreign Affairs. These measures include denial of access to secondary schools, suspension of classes, denial of access to employment and the inability to participate in political or public life.
"All these decisions go directly against the promises made by the Taliban when they seized power, and stand in the way of any possibility of resuming relations with their regime."
There has also been a sharp increase in child marriages and forced marriages. This will have devastating consequences for generations to come, says the Foreign Affairs department. "All these decisions go directly against the promises made by the Taliban when they seized power, and stand in the way of any possibility of resuming relations with their regime."
Moreover, it is worrying that the Taliban regime continues to maintain close ties with Al Qaeda, the Belgian government believes.
Belgium says it will, however, continue to offer support to the Afghan population and civil society. "Since December 2021, Belgium has been supporting several protection centres for women human rights defenders in Afghanistan, through a contribution of 400.000 euros", says Foreign Affairs minister Hadja Lahbib. "These centres focus on the reception of women human rights defenders at risk, and offer them protection and psychological assistance. Belgium is also contributing to the 'Afghan Monitoring Hub', a project to support the Afghan media which provides for the strengthening of a network of correspondents and media consortia."
Belgium supports several protection centres for women human rights defenders in Afghanistan, says Foreign Affairs minister Hadja Lahbib.© BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE