French Jewish students to hold Paris rally in ‘solidarity’ with Afghan refugees

“As Jewish students in France, we cannot look away from the tragedy that is unfolding,” the students say.

By Dion J. Pierre, The Algemeiner

French Jewish students are co-organizing a rally in Paris to show support for women, “defenders of human rights” and others threatened by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and push for an “unconditional welcome” in France for refugees fleeing the unfolding crisis.

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF), joined by SOS Racisme, the Federation of General Student Associations (FAGE) and a number of other advocacy groups, are planning the rally for Sunday, September 5, at Paris’ Place de la République.

“Since the Taliban seized power on August 15, the world has been witnessing the tipping of Afghanistan into chaos and large sections of its population into terror,” the groups said.  “In these hours when there is talk of who is responsible for the collapse of Afghan power to the benefit of the Islamist Taliban regime, we would like our energies and attention to be unwaveringly focused on the humanitarian drama that is being played out for these women — as well as for all the groups that the new political situation is putting at risk.”

This past Sunday, local French officials prevented protestors from marching to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, citing a “risk of disturbance to public order given the geopolitical context,” according to the AFP.

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The UEJF recently urged French leaders, the European Union, and the international community to “mobilize even more for Afghan society” as the U.S. wound down its 20-year military presence in the country, a process that concluded Monday.

“As Jewish students in France, we cannot look away from the tragedy that is unfolding,” the UEJF said in Instagram post. “We know only too well what the world’s blindness to horror means.”

“The international bodies and the European Union were created as defenders of the universal values of human rights and individual freedoms,” said the group, which represents 15,000 French Jewish students. “It is their responsibility to show the Taliban that they cannot rule with impunity at the expense of human rights.”

The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) had also issued a call for international support of Afghan refugees, passing an emergency motion at its August general assembly “declaring solidarity with Afghanistan, and calling on European governments to evacuate vulnerable groups now.”