Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met today with female members of the Afghan parliament and judges who have been evacuated to Greece. At the start of the meeting the Prime Minister said:
It is a great pleasure to welcome you here today, to the Maximos Mansion. I think that it is a manifest obligation of the Greek state to be able to welcome you in this very difficult circumstance for you personally and for your country.
We are all deeply shocked by what has happened in your homeland over the past few months. And I know that for the last 20 years all of you, each one in her own way, have fought for women’s rights in Afghanistan, through your involvement in politics but also through your service in the judiciary.
I want to listen to your personal stories and assure you that in this very difficult moment for you personally, the Greek state will stand at your side, hoping that there will be stability in your country and that you will be able to return, with your rights fully guaranteed.
I would like to thank the Ministry, its staff, as well as the General Secretariat for Equality for the speed with which they responded, in this difficult circumstance, to the international requests to take in women who would be at risk if they remained in Afghanistan under the current conditions.
Once again let me say how happy I am to welcome you today.
At the end of the meeting the Prime Minister remarked:
I would like to thank you very much for sharing, in such a moving way, your personal stories. You have demonstrated great courage, fighting for something that other societies -like ours- take for granted: for democracy, for equal rights and women’s rights.
I want to ask you not to lose hope. Because this path may be tumultuous, with many climb downs, but eventually it can only lead to one thing. This fight will eventually prove that you are in the right, for yourselves, your daughters and your granddaughters.
We will help you reach the countries that you will choose as your permanent home, or rather your temporary homes, as your destination should be Afghanistan. Alternatively, if you decide to seek political asylum in Greece we will be the first to welcome you with open arms.
In the context of our activities within the European Union, we will do everything in our power to support the people of Afghanistan. We do not want to legitimize the Taliban regime, nor shall we do so. But we want to help so that humanitarian aid can reach the people that truly need it.
Lastly, let me thank you for giving me the opportunity to listen to you today. We will do everything within our power to help your families and colleagues of yours to find refuge in Greece. Maybe, being a country that has taken in many migrants, we are also much more open than other European countries.