Allow me to first thank SRSG Lyons for her presentation. We are delighted to have the SRSG with us here in the Council Chamber – and commend the entire UNAMA team for their crucial and relentless work to support the Afghan people.
Indeed, the people of Afghanistan are entering a particularly difficult winter. As the SRSG said, more than half the population face acute food insecurity, and the World Food Program has issued multiple warnings about the risk of large-scale deaths from hunger throughout Afghanistan in the coming months.
Afghanistan is highly vulnerable to drought and other effects of climate change – exacerbating food insecurity and compounding the humanitarian crisis. It may also lead to further instability, displacement, and the increasing vulnerability of marginalised groups, including women.
Against this backdrop, humanitarian aid is of urgent importance, and we expect the Taliban – and all parties in Afghanistan – to ensure that humanitarian assistance is provided based on the humanitarian principles.
Norway has increased its humanitarian support to Afghanistan to a total of 37 million US dollars this year. But we know that humanitarian assistance alone is not enough.
The political challenges of dealing with the Taliban taking power by force, must not prevent us from doing all we can to save Afghan lives.
The reestablishment of basic services – particularly health and education – is vital.
We underline the importance of ensuring safe access to, and safeguarding of, the right to education – including through the full implementation of Council resolution 2601.
In order to secure basic service delivery, Norway has decided to support the newly created UN Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan with approximately
23 million US dollars.
The international community must explore all avenues for Afghanistan to recover a normally functioning economy; with people engaging in trade and gainful employment, and a re-established, functional, financial sector. Preventing a total economic collapse is essential.
I would also like to thank Freshta Karim for her presentation to the Council and important messages on inclusive governance, and commend her longstanding advocacy on the right to education for all children in Afghanistan.
Your statement is yet another reminder to this Council and the international community about the importance of continuing to consult with Afghan women in all our efforts affecting the future of Afghanistan.
Norway is therefore increasing its support to organisations promoting women’s rights and participation in Afghan society; especially those working at grassroots level to prevent conflict and protect human rights.
Allow me also to express my condolences to all those who knew the human rights defenders Frozan Safi, and Hijratullah Khogyani.
We firmly echo the calls for a prompt, independent, and impartial investigation into their deaths, and for the perpetrators to be held accountable.
The security situation in Afghanistan is still a cause of great concern. Recent acts of terrorism targeting places of worship and hospitals, deserve our strongest condemnation. These attacks add to the suffering of the Afghan people.
We expect the Taliban to do their utmost in countering terrorist groups such as Al-Qaida and ISIS-K, mindful of the importance of respecting human rights as an integral part of any successful counter-terrorism strategy.
Let me end by re-emphasising the severity of Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation. The responsibility lies with those that rule. Nevertheless, the international community must also do its utmost to assist the Afghan population in this critical time.
Colleagues, if we are to avoid a disaster of enormous proportions: there is no time to lose.