Vatican News staff writer
The Holy See continues to follow the developments in Afghanistan "with great attention and deep concern," and has renewed the appeal launched by Pope Francis on August 15 calling on all people to pray with him “to the God of peace so that the clamour of weapons might cease and solutions can be found at the table of dialogue." Only in this way, he said at the time, "can the battered population of that country – men, women, elderly and children – return to their own homes, and live in peace and security, in total mutual respect.”
This message was reiterated on Tuesday morning by Monsignor John Putzer, chargé d'affaires of the Holy See's Permanent Mission to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva. Speaking at the 31st Special Session of the Human Rights Council, the Vatican representative urged all parties “to recognize and uphold the respect for the human dignity and fundamental rights of every person, including the right to life, the freedom of religion, the right to freedom of movement and the right to peaceful assembly.”
"At this critical time," he added, "it is of vital importance to support the success and safety of humanitarian efforts within the country, in a spirit of international solidarity, so as not to lose the progress that has been made, especially in the areas of healthcare and education.” He expressed hopes for a “peaceful and swift resolution to the ongoing tensions,” and the conviction that “inclusive dialogue" represents "the most powerful tool" to achieve the goal of peace.
In conclusion, the statement urged the entire international community to "move from declaration to action" by welcoming refugees " in a spirit of human fraternity."
According to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, there are 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan, comprising the largest protracted refugee population in Asia, and the second-largest refugee population in the world. In recent weeks, thousands have been attempting to flee the country, especially at Kabul airport through the airlifts underway for foreigners and Afghans. Surrounding countries are worried about an exodus across their borders given the current tensions.