TALLINN - Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets took part in an informal video conference of European Union's development ministers, where the topics discussed included the ways for assisting the Afghan people in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster.
The situation in Afghanistan is extremely severe and the state is on the verge of a serious humanitarian disaster. Every second civilian resident in Afghanistan, altogether over 18 million people, are in need of humanitarian aid. Some one million children suffer from malnutrition, there is an extreme drought in the country and as a result, food shortages are aggravating. People are also threatened by continuing COVID-19 virus waves and an upcoming harsh winter.
Liimets underscored the need for joint action by EU states for the purpose of ensuring the protection of human rights in Afghanistan, particularly the protection of the rights of women and girls, and to prevent a humanitarian disaster and continued violence by the regime against the population.
"It is important that humanitarian aid be provided to the civilian population, that access and safety be guaranteed to the people providing help, including to workers of international organizations," Liimets said.
Estonia is currently mapping out options for continuing bilateral development cooperation projects in Afghanistan's neighboring countries to assist Afghan refugees. Bilateral development cooperation projects have currently been suspended. Estonia sees the provision of humanitarian aid through international humanitarian aid organizations as one of the options and has responded to the aid request by the International Committee of the Red Cross by allocating 50,000 euros for assistance to the people of Afghanistan in 2021. In various years, Estonia has also supported the activities of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Afghanistan.
The EU development ministers' video conference was chaired by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. The duties of development minister are performed in Estonia by the minister of foreign affairs.