Allow me to thank SRSG Lyons for her important briefing amidst unprecedented challenges for UNAMA and the whole of Afghanistan. We also thank you Wazhma Frogh and Malala Yousafzai, for your powerful interventions. It is so important that this Council hears your voices and perspectives, especially on the future of women and girls in Afghanistan.
The SG’s report rightfully points out that Afghans have experienced generations of war and hardship. And we fully agree that they must not be abandoned.
We therefore welcome the decision to convene a ministerial meeting on the humanitarian situation, to ensure that the support to the people of Afghanistan is scaled up.
A sustainable peace in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an inclusive political settlement. We take note that an interim government has now been announced in Kabul. The composition of this government gives cause for considerable concern. In contrast to previous indications from the Taliban, this government is neither inclusive, nor representative. A new government must be inclusive and representative, and have the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women.
In Afghanistan – like everywhere else – there can be no trade-off between security, stability, and progress; and the rights of women. On the contrary, gender equality and the inclusion of women in public life is security,
it is stability, and is a path to progress.
The conduct and composition of the Afghan government will determine the scope and magnitude of co-operation and support from the international community.
We also emphasise that Afghan territory must not be used to: threaten or attack any country; shelter or train terrorists; or plan or finance terrorist acts. We will hold the new government accountable in this regard.
We have noted assurances by Taliban that government workers- military or civilian- will not face retribution of any kind. Taliban representatives have also stated that women and girls will have access to work, and education.
We will follow closely how this is translated into action.
Afghanistan must continue to adhere to its international obligations, including the full respect of international human rights law, and international humanitarian law.
We urge all parties to ensure that humanitarian workers and civil society organizations, get full, safe, and unhindered access to people in need, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
We also call on all parties to ensure that Afghan and foreign nationals who wish to leave the country can do so in a safe and orderly way.
Prolonged conflict, drought, and the pandemic have caused substantial humanitarian suffering. In addition, Afghanistan is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change and climate-related security risks.
In this critical time, it is vital to preserve the UN’s capacity to stay and deliver.
The choices we make in the coming days on the UNAMA mandate will be decisive. As co-penholder for Afghanistan, we encourage our fellow Council members to secure consensus on this indispensable mandate.