Item - 10 General Debate (30.03.22)

United Nations Human Rights Council, 49th session

Item 10 General Debate

Statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Denmark on behalf of the Nordic–Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden

30 March 2022

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries.

We welcome the High Commissioner’s report on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and technical assistance achievements in the field of human rights.

Our countries have been actively engaged in efforts for the stabilisation and development of Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned by the deterioration in the human rights situation, including as concerns the rights of women and girls.

As the report makes clear, the Taliban deprives Afghan women and girls of their rights and fundamental freedoms, such as the rights to work, education, freedom of movement and peaceful assembly. This stands directly opposed to 20 years of hard-won progress made by Afghans on gender equality and non-discrimination.  

We deplore the Taliban’s failure last week to adhere to commitments to reopen schools for girls above the sixth grade, in spite of repeated commitments towards girls’ education. As stressed by the High Commissioner, such structural discrimination is deeply damaging for Afghanistan’s prospects of future recovery and development. We echo her call on the Taliban to respect all girls’ right to education and to open schools for all students without discrimination or further delay.

We welcome the recent extension of UNAMA by the UN Security Council and its clear human rights mandate, including as concerns the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation, engagement and leadership of women in all levels and stages of decision-making.

We urge the Taliban to heed the High Commissioner’s recommendation to engage with UNAMA and OHCHR regarding specific incidents of alleged human rights abuses and violations of international law.

Thank you.