Human Rights Council 50th session
Urgent Debate on the situation of human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan
Statement by H.E Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic Countries (NB8)
1 July 2022
I speak on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries.
Afghanistan is facing dark times.
When our countries addressed this Council last August, we - as many others - appealed to the Taliban to “live up to their promises, and uphold their obligations under international law to protect civilians and respect human rights”.
Regrettably, the Taliban have shown no willingness to listen to such appeals - neither from the international community nor their own people.
Almost one year on, a hard-hit population has no representative government and is suffering a humanitarian, economic and human rights crisis.
The deteriorating situation for Afghan women and girls is of particular concern. No country of any religious persuasion of its people or government, denies girls the right to a secondary education – with one exception, Afghanistan.
This egregious policy comes in addition to multiple directives and practices significantly impeding women’s rights. This includes freedom of movement, the right to gainful employment and freedom of political, economic, and social participation and decision-making.
A country ravaged by 44 years of conflict, facing dire humanitarian and developmental challenges, can ill afford to exclude half of its population from participating in rebuilding society.
The international community must continue to support Afghanistan. The Security Council provided UNAMA with a comprehensive mandate to engage. We welcome the visit of Special Rapporteur Bennett to Afghanistan and anticipate his first report to the Council in September. We support the convening of an urgent debate and the establishment of a panel.
The UN and the rest of the international community must continue to support the Afghan people and promote the establishment of an inclusive government that represents its people and respects the human rights of all, including those of women and girls.