Afghanistan - Q&A from the press briefing (15 February 2023)
Q: On August 16, 2021, President Macron said: “Many Afghans – rights workers, artists, journalists, activists – are now in danger because of their activities. We will help them as much as we possibly can, because it does credit to France to stand by those who share our values.” But we can’t help but note that today, many Afghan journalists, both men and women, are still waiting for French visas. Some of them are in hiding in Kabul, others are trying to survive in Islamabad and can’t return to Afghanistan, where the Taliban has made working conditions and the lives of journalists – especially women – much worse. They have been waiting for months for France to offer them the safety and freedom promised by the head of state.
Germany has added staff at its embassies to handle these applications. Journalists often receive financial assistance and once they get their visas, they even get a paid ticket to Germany.
What does France plan to do to quickly resolve the situation of our brothers and sisters who are currently living in a state of constant anxiety?
A: France has taken in and provided protection to a large number of Afghan journalists who are in danger because of their work. We will continue to follow the situation in Afghanistan very closely.
With no embassy in Kabul, we are handling most of the asylum applications we receive in Islamabad and Tehran. We have therefore added personnel to these two embassies to help process the applications of Afghan men and women who want to leave their country. This is being done in close collaboration with all the relevant ministries and especially – with respect to asylum seekers – the Ministry of the Interior. As Catherine Colonna announced, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs will be setting up a specialized support center in the coming months to provide back-up for the consulates that receive the largest number of applications.
We will remain especially attentive to the situation of journalists, as well as Afghan women, who are in particular danger, and we are doing our utmost to deal with these situations on a priority basis.
France reaffirms its commitment to the freedom of speech and freedom of the press worldwide. We will continue to support all those who endeavor to provide free, reliable and quality information worldwide.