G7 countries urged to protect journalists, media workers amid Afghanistan crisis
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G7 countries urged to protect journalists, media workers amid Afghanistan crisis

Various civil society and media organizations on Monday issued a letter presenting key recommendations ahead of the G7 summit on the situation in Afghanistan, in order to ensure the immediate protection of journalists, media workers, and their families in the country.

The 54 organizations asked all G7 countries to make a clear and explicit commitment to treating journalists and media workers as an urgent and immediate priority, ensuring their protection, and evacuating them and their families if they are threatened or killed.

The joint letter expressly made 10 requests to the G7 members:

  1. Make an explicit commitment to evacuate all journalists, media workers and media advocates at risk, and their families;
  2. Ease visa restrictions for all Afghan journalists, media workers, media advocates and their families seeking asylum;
  3. Simplify and secure the process for visa application, and collaborate with third countries when possible;
  4. Provide safe passage to and at the airport and other routes;
  5. Remain in Kabul in order to secure the airport and the possibility to evacuate beyond the August 31 deadline;
  6. Create an emergency fund for Afghan journalists and media workers;
  7. Provide pathways for cash to enter in the country;
  8. Repurpose development budget lines to address the emergency situation;
  9. Coordinate efforts within the United Nations system for immediate support;
  10. At the August 26 special session of the Human Rights Council, call for the establishment of an independent monitoring and investigative mechanism that is adequately staffed and resourced.

Additionally, the organizations recommended certain immediate actions to assist those who are at risk and called for a coordinated and rapid response to be implemented. These include helping those journalists and media workers who are in danger and who need to leave the country with their families to do so and pay particular attention to the plight of women journalists and media workers. They also sought funding for the at-risk and vulnerable in Afghanistan.

Specifically, the letter called on the government and armed forces to uphold their international human rights obligations of Afghanistan, as well as the obligations of all other countries and UN agencies, to ensure safe corridors for the evacuation and relocation of all people in danger, including journalists and media workers, as well as broadening access to visas and asylum status.

Further, the organizations called for the establishment of an independent mechanism that is adequately staffed and resourced to conduct sustained monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights; and investigate serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law, including the collection of evidence in preparation for criminal prosecution.

Other priorities included coordination within the UN, providing safety training for media personnel and granting support for exile media. The G7 meeting on Afghanistan is set to convene on Tuesday to urgently discuss the ongoing crisis in the territory and coordinate international action.