The statement was delivered by the Ambassador of Albania, Ferit Hoxha, ahead of the Security Council meeting on Afghanistan.
Today the Council convenes to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. We, the Security Council signatories of the Statement of Shared Commitments for the principles of Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), built on the Trio Presidency initiative from 2021, Albania, Brazil, France, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, the UAE, and United Kingdom, have come together to express concern regarding the critical situation of women and girls in Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, women have been systematically erased from public life, those protesting have been violently repressed, intimidated, abducted, killed, or subjected to other forms of reprisals. It is deplorable that, despite continuous promises and commitments to the international community and to the people of Afghanistan, girls above the sixth grade continue to be denied their education.
We urge the Taliban to immediately reverse the policies and practices which are currently restricting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Afghan women and girls, and which continue to aggravate the humanitarian, economic, human rights and social crisis and undermine the goal of sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
We call on all parties in all circumstances to respect and to promote the full enjoyment of human rights of all individuals, including women and girls, and recall Afghanistan’s obligation to implement the provisions of instruments concerning human rights and fundamental freedoms to which Afghanistan is a State party and by which it is bound, including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
We strongly support the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in supporting and promoting gender equality, women’s and girls’ empowerment and the full protection of their human rights, including education, and the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women in all levels and stages of decision-making processes.
We strongly condemn all cases of violations, abuses and reprisals committed against women-human rights defenders, women peacebuilders, civil society activists, and against journalists, healthcare and humanitarian workers, as well as against those previously associated with the government, police, justice, and security sector. We join the strong calls for urgent investigations of such matters so that perpetrators can be held accountable.
It is undeniable that gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment are fundamental to achieving Afghanistan’s economic and sustainable development goals. Recovery in Afghanistan cannot happen without women going back to work and girls back to school. Their rights to education, work and freedom of movement must be guaranteed, respected, and protected.
We will closely monitor developments through various sources, including UN agencies, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and civil society organizations and will continue to speak out if women’s and girls’ universal human rights and freedoms will continue to remain under attack, or are restricted and threatened. The situation of women and girls in Afghanistan must remain high on the agenda of the Security Council. As Council members, we stand with all women and girls of Afghanistan and commit to prioritizing their rights and needs during our ongoing discussions at different levels.