As many activists, journalists and organizations are leaving Afghanistan in response to the fall of Kabul last week, Geneva Call urges the international community and humanitarian actors to keep putting the protection of civilians at the forefront of their agenda. As many are fleeing, Geneva Call’s team remains in the country and is resolved to keep advocating for strict respect of International Humanitarian Law by all the actors involved.
When asked about her confidence that Geneva Call will be able to continue working in the country, Marie Lequin, Head of Eurasia Region, is hopeful: “dialogue can always bring opportunities for work. We need to make sure that we are also adapting the way we work, and this is something we have started doing several years ago”.
Adapting is crucial. Promoting humanitarian norms can only be effective if it respects local realities and sensitivities, and Geneva Call’s strategy of bridging IHL and Islamic norms has proven to be a key tool for acceptance, not only in Afghanistan but in many other countries around the world. “In Islam”, continues Marie Lequin, “there are many positive values. We need to use those positive values to support our work, to carry our messages”. Doing so ensures ownership of these norms at the local and community levels.
In the near future, Geneva Call’s team in Afghanistan will continue to advocate for the respect of all humanitarian commitments taken by involved parties. In parallel, we urge the international community to dialogue with all actors who have an impact on the humanitarian situation, to facilitate humanitarian aid, and to prevent the ongoing humanitarian crisis from worsening.