The tragedy of the Afghan people, whose images in real time occupy the news and global political scenarios in recent weeks, has deep and ancient roots which coincide with the first activities of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT). The two PPT Sessions of Stockholm and Paris (1981-1982) were convened by representatives of European civil society who, in support of the populations exposed to the Soviet invasion, did not accept the double blackmail of a liberation war from social and economic underdevelopment in the name of Soviet socialism, on the one hand, and, on the other, a resistance supported by a Western world in their own interests although in the name of civilization and democracy.

In the logic of the Universal Declaration of Peoples’ Rights, which can be considered the real Statute of the PPT, it was necessary to give a voice and a power of judgment to the true representatives of the people’s resistance movement exposed as they were to internationally prohibited weapons (chemical and toy bombs); and to groups of people seeking self-determination in opposition to the vision of a country conceived as a territory for exchange-conflict of the international powers of the moment, as established by the Balfour agreement.

The war unleashed 20 years later by the US – with the support of all NATO countries and allied Arab regimes –  justified as fighting an “Islamic terrorism” that had led to 9/11, brought them even more directly as protagonists into a war scenario already opened with the war in Iraq.  The result: a political-military defeat unnecessarily disguised as a victory over a “terrorism”  that is not based in religion but the quest for national self-determination.

As the PPT has repeatedly documented  in its latest judgments on the war (2002), on the genocide of the Elam Tamil people (2010-2013), on the Rohingya people (2017), on the political genocide of the Colombian people (2021), only strategies that see the recognition of peoples as the subject of their right to self-determination and development in peace may represent the way forward. Difficult, seeming incredible, but necessary. Answers pronounced in the name of security continue the same logic of war thus generating further violations of the right to life of increasingly fragile populations. They are unjustifiable.

Recognizing the inviolable dignity of victims and their right to a peaceful future entails an international law that is at the service of peoples and not an instrument used arbitrarily, for geopolitical and economic interests, by the community of states.

The ongoing tragedy of the Afghan people requires at least some steps in the following direction:

  • recognize, without restrictions, and support with all means, the right of the Afghan people to a protected migration in countries that welcome and do not reject them with the illegal and illegitimate violence of physical and legal barriers. The costs of receiving them is infinitely less than those of the continuation of logics, practices, lies of war;
  • specifically guarantee the protection of the female population, which again risks a real genocide. This is the direct and inalienable responsibility of all institutional actors. Giving a sign of peace and hope to all the women of a region – who have in the women of Rojava an incredible example of resistance and democratic creativity – must be a priority;
  • activate all political and economic initiatives to control the arms market, which is what allows, through legal and illegal means, the terrorism that all States consider as the main enemy yet promote as an indispensable charter for their own economic and political interests;
  • affirm the truth – which is always a victim of the war paradigm – about the non-democratic practices of States (not only regional) that are involved in the more general rejection of peace and international law as criteria for future reference in defense of the peoples of that region. This is the ultimate guarantee of a future which can still be called human.
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