Thank you, President, and thank you to USG Griffiths, DSRSG Potzel and the civil society briefer for their presentations.
Since the Taliban took power by force in Afghanistan, Norway’s message has been clear: “The Taliban will be judged not by their words, but by their actions”.
So far, we have been deeply disappointed.
The immediate worsening of the humanitarian and economic situation disproportionality affected women and girls. And the decisions by the Taliban to ban girls from secondary education; restrict women’s autonomy, access to employment and freedom of movement; and dissolve the institutions dedicated to promoting their rights, have had further detrimental impact on Afghanistan’s ability to stabilise and recover.
We reiterate the united demand from this Council: the Taliban must swiftly lift these restrictions on Afghan women and girls.
We commend UNAMA for the thorough report on the human rights situation published in July, and the substantial engagement with the de facto authorities in this work.
The report documents an alarming number of human rights abuses attributed to the de facto authorities, including against journalists, media workers and human rights defenders.
When taking power, the Taliban became responsible for the security and welfare of the Afghan people. And they have not delivered.
Millions of Afghans need humanitarian assistance. Earthquakes, drought, floodings, food insecurity and lack of access to basic services are adding to their plight. And winter is quickly approaching.
The imposed restrictions by the Taliban on women’s autonomy, employment and movement impede the ability of women to both deliver and receive lifesaving assistance – or generate income with which to pay for food and basic services.
The knock-on effect on the population as a whole is dramatic.
Norway is concerned by continued reports of interference, discrimination and corruption hindering the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need – in particular internally displaced persons, minorities, and women-headed households.
Children continue to be the most vulnerable. As documented in the recent SG report on children in armed conflict, Afghanistan is among the countries with the highest numbers of grave violations against children.
There is also an increasing risk of terrorist groups strengthening their foothold in Afghanistan. Frequent terrorist attacks continue to target and kill civilians.
The expectations of this Council are clear: Afghan territory must not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists.
The Afghan people deserves sustainable peace. They deserve a legitimate government that represents all Afghans.
Sustainable peace means not just the end of violence or war. It also requires an end to human rights abuses and discrimination.
Norway stays committed to the people of Afghanistan.
We will continue to support the basic human needs of Afghans, and we will do our utmost to help address the economic crisis.
To do so we must continue to engage and meet with the de facto authorities. We must hold them to their commitments. They bear the main responsibility to protect the civilian population, and to respond to the humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan.