Human Rights Watch (HRW) Thursday welcomed decisions by Demark and Sweden to grant all women and girls from Afghanistan refugee status in the Scandinavian countries. HRW said the two nations should be models for other countries around the world to follow.
The organization explained:
Since the Taliban takeover, thousands of Afghans have been stranded in limbo, awaiting resettlement. While Denmark, Sweden, and the EUAA’s decision will not have the impact of large-scale resettlement schemes offering meaningful legal and safe pathways out of Afghanistan and transit countries, it represents an important moment of recognition that half of Afghanistan’s population face persecution under Taliban rule.
Last week, Denmark’s Refugee Appeals Board announced that the status of asylum seekers from Afghanistan will change “solely because of their gender” under Section 7, Subsection 1 of the Aliens Act. “The decision is made on the basis of information about the continued worsening conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan, including a report from the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) Country Guidance,” a statement from the Refugee Appeals Board said. The report shows that a number of groups of people in Afghanistan, including women and girls, are living in conditions that it constitutes persecution within the meaning of the Refugee Convention.
In December, Sweden similarly announced that all women and girls from Afghanistan will be granted refugee status and a three-year residence permit. In a December 7 statement, the Swedish Migration Agency said:
It has now become so difficult for Afghan women and girls to study, earn a living, seek care or get protection from violence that they can be considered to be persecuted on the basis of their gender. A person at risk of gender-based persecution is entitled to a residence permit as a refugee.