The European University Association (EUA) and over 50 higher education networks, organizations, and associations, have joined Scholars At Risk (SAR), a US-based international network of more than 500 academic institutions in 40 countries, urging European governments and EU institutions to immediately intervene and help students, scholars and civil society actors in Afghanistan.
In their letter, they stress that the government’s action in time could make a huge difference, Erudera.com reports.
“Organisations supporting at-risk scholars are racing to offer assistance to researchers, scholars and civil society actors in Afghanistan who, at this moment, are desperately seeking ways to safety. For the better part of the past twenty years, these scholars and civil society actors in Afghanistan have fought for a new, rights-respecting, forward-looking, knowledge-based Afghanistan,” EUA highlights in its press release.
It further says that many of those people whose lives are now at risk “have worked for or in partnership with EU institutions“, including European governments, NATO partners as well as other international and civil society organizations.
On August 18, Scholars At Risk, along with 115 higher education institutions, organizations, networks, and more than 2,600 professionals and students, sent a letter to the US government, appealing to them to protect Afghan students, scholars, and civil society actors. Their demands include:
- Expand the evacuation flights in order to include students, scholars, and civil society actors who have supported the efforts of the EU, European governments, NATO partners, and other organizations for a progressive Afghanistan.
- Increasing resettlement quotas and assist Afghans needing international protection.
- Accelerate the legal arrival of the candidates or families that can prove an existing host institution, sponsor, job.
- Waive home residency and intent-to-return requirements for visa applications for Afghan scholars and researchers.
- Create an EU fellowship scheme for Afghan students, scholars, and civil society, particularly women and religious minorities.
- Establish national fellowships for Afghan students, scholars, and civil society.
“Hundreds of them traveled to the United States to seek an education and returned to their homeland, dedicated to values of openness, and tolerance. These are not the values of the Taliban, so their lives are now at risk. Timely US government action can still make an enormous difference, and maybe yet save Afghanistan’s future. We implore you to act on their behalf now,” the letter of Scholars At Risk sent to US Secretary of State reads.
The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15, two decades after the US invaded Afghanistan in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.