Thank you President, and thank you to DSRSG Potzel and the UNODC briefer for their briefings and to Fawzia Koofi for your powerful remarks.
One year after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, many of the worst fears of the Afghan people are playing out before our eyes. Especially for women and girls.
It is therefore imperative that the UN and other humanitarian organisations are able to reach all people in need in Afghanistan - including prisoners, internally displaced persons, as well as ethnic and religious minority communities.
Against a background of a deteriorating humanitarian situation, UNFPA warns of alarming disruptions to women and girls’ access to basic health services- with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Vital services for survivors of gender-based violence are limited- following the dissolution of dedicated reporting pathways, justice mechanisms, and shelters.
Lack of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights has devastating impact on the lives of women and girls, and must be prioritised.
And we are alarmed by the reports of: extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions- and the lack of accountability for these grave abuses of international law.
We echo the Secretary-General’s calls on the Taliban to adopt concrete measures to end and prevent violations and abuses against children- including the recruitment and use of children.
And we welcome the recent opening of the Doha Hub of Children in Armed Conflict in Qatar Analysis and fully support their work on Afghanistan.
The cultivation of opium in Afghanistan remains a major source of illicit drugs distributed globally, and we hold the de facto authorities responsible for addressing this issue.
We are further concerned that proceeds from opium cultivation and processing may be used to finance terrorism in Afghanistan and abroad.
Since the Taliban takeover, the entire UN system has been clear in its determination to stay and deliver for the Afghan people.
As penholder on Afghanistan in the Council, Norway has also been steadfast in our approach:
The UN and the international community must continue to support the Afghan people – and to do so we must engage with the de facto authorities.
Non-engagement, isolation or total collapse is neither in the interest of the Afghan people nor the international community.
In March this year, this Council agreed on a renewed and reinforced UNAMA mandate:
- to support and promote women’s participation and girls’ education;
- to monitor and report specifically on abuses and reprisals against women, including human rights defenders;
- and to promote inclusive and responsible government, including the rule of law – all of which will be key to achieving sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
And since March, UNAMAs mandated tasks and priorities have become ever more vital. But instead of progress on women’s participation and girls’ education, we have seen the de facto authorities choose a path of more oppression, more exclusion.
While the main responsibility to respond to the humanitarian, economic and human rights crisis lies with the de facto authorities, UNAMA is uniquely placed to support the Afghan people.
No country in the world denies girls the right to a secondary education – with one exception, Afghanistan.
It is a devastating, and avoidable tragedy.
Leaders who oppress half of the country’s population will not gain legitimacy.
Not from this Council.
Not from the international community.