I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Finland.
First, I would like to warmly thank Germany for bringing the negotiations on this key resolution to a conclusion. We, the Nordic countries, have cosponsored the draft resolution at hand.
We remain deeply concerned by the developments in Afghanistan. It is essential that the international community continue to pay sustained attention to the situation and developments on the ground. The Nordic countries’ commitment to the Afghan people remains steadfast.
UNAMA’s presence in Afghanistan is vital. We appreciate UNAMA’s work in the new reality facing Afghanistan and we want to reaffirm our unswerving support for the continuation of its mandate and work, including its strong human rights mandate, on which Norway has led negotiations in the Security Council. Let me express our appreciation for the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Ms. Roza Otunbayeva – and wish her the best with her work ahead. Let me also express our gratitude and appreciation to special rapporteur Richard Bennett, whose work on human rights is invaluable.
The human rights situation in Afghanistan is alarming. Women’s and girls’ full and equal enjoyment of human rights can never be negotiable. It must be a front and centre political priority.
We expect the Taliban to respect and ensure the fulfilment of Afghanistan’s obligations under international law, and to hear the demands from the Afghans and the international community. We are not witnessing isolated cases of violations and abuses of women’s enjoyment of human rights but a systematic eradication of their human rights and freedoms. Women are forced to disappear from the public space – but let me assure you – they will not disappear; we will not forget nor give up on the Afghan women.
The humanitarian, human rights, economic and political crises are all interconnected and we must address them simultaneously. The ongoing crisis affects women and girls disproportionately.
Only inclusive political process and safe participatory dialogue – to decide on the future of Afghanistan – can provide a path towards sustainable peace and development. We call on the Taliban to reconsider the decisions and policies that restrict the rights of women and their participation in economic, social and political life.
Access to education for all children, girls and boys, is a human right. Shutting girls out of secondary schools will carry an impact on their lives and on the Afghan society that will be hard to reverse. This will have a huge impact for generations to come. We urge the Taliban to live up to their promises and act immediately to open schools for all girls.
We strongly condemn killings, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and any discrimination, abuse and reprisals against protesters, persons belonging to ethnic and religious groups, human rights defenders and media workers. Rather, the de facto authorities should engage with them, and enable their work and participation. We welcome the general amnesty declared by the Taliban, and we urge Taliban now to fully implement and enforce that amnesty.
The security situation remains a concern, including the terrorist threat. Continued attacks targeting civilians, school facilities and mosques are a great concern. These are grave violations of international humanitarian law. The de facto authorities are now responsible for providing security to those in danger and those responsible must be held accountable.
The humanitarian situation is bleak. Recurring droughts, long-lasting effects of past conflicts and the exclusion of women from society – inter alia – continue to hamper Afghanistan’s food security and the humanitarian situation as a whole. Another winter season is near.
It is of utmost importance that the flow of humanitarian aid and support to basic needs and services to the Afghan people and the livelihoods of local communities continue. We need to support civil society in their struggle to preserve social structures. The Taliban must ensure that this help can continue independently, without any interference by the de facto authorities. We also need to explore sustainable ways to secure financial transactions in and out of Afghanistan to avoid an economic collapse.
The Nordic countries continue to follow the developments in Afghanistan closely. Taliban will not be assessed by their words, but by their actions.