KATHMANDU, August 21: A civil society group in Nepal has appealed to the Government of Nepal (GoN) to summon an emergency meeting of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in its capacity as the chair of the regional body. They have urged the government to hold discussions on the safety of the Afghan people and ways to address the possible Afghan refugee crisis in the emergency meeting of the SAARC.
Issuing a joint statement, the group of civil society members including Jagannath Lamichhane, Prem Sapkota, Dr Bishal Dhakal, Shiva Nath Yadav, Pradip Pariyar, Dawa Lhamu Sherpa, Dr Jiwan Chhetri, Suman Adhikari, Shehnaj Banu, Bhola Paswan, Bhuwan KC, Sristi Adhikari, Nabil Silwal, Dipjyoti Shrestha, Ganesh Budhathoki, Kailash Neupane, Biswas Baral and Anand Mishra, among others, have also appealed to SAARC member states to stand ready to offer refuge to fleeing Afghan refugees without discriminating against them on the basis of gender or religion.
In the joint statement, they have said that they are worried about the evolving political environment in Afghanistan. They have maintained that journalists, educationists, women, children, human rights activists and the groups and individuals who believe in an open society are facing unprecedented humanitarian crises and safety challenges after the Taliban took over the country. "World community should not ignore the calls of ordinary Afghans for help and safety as these citizens do not have any link with terrorism," reads the joint statement.