UN Human Rights Council, 31st special session, 24 August 2021:
Serious Human Rights Concerns and Situation in Afghanistan
Statement delivered by Denmark on behalf of also Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden
Speaker: H.E. Jeppe Kofod, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark
I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries.
We are alarmed and deeply saddened by the developments in Afghanistan.
In the time ahead, the Taliban will be judged not by their words, but by their actions.
We call on the Taliban, and all other parties, to live up to their promises, and to their obligations under international law. Including to protect civilians and respect human rights.
We condemn the Taliban’s reported assassinations of civilians. Of human rights defenders. Of media workers.
We condemn the reported violence against women and girls, and grave violations and abuses of their human rights.
Such acts may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, as stressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN human rights experts. We recall that Afghanistan is a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC.
In the past two decades, Afghans have experienced wide-ranging human rights progress. Thousands of health centers and schools have been built. Millions of women and girls have been empowered.
These hard-won advances must be protected.
We are particularly concerned about the rights and the safety of women and girls, persons belonging to religious, ethnic and sexual minorities, and of the thousands of Afghans who have been promoting human rights and democracy.
We will continue to support those, and the rest of the Afghan people.
We call for freedom of movement, including in and out of Afghanistan, and for safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance.
Human rights and fundamental freedoms must be respected. Further atrocities must be prevented. Perpetrators must be held accountable.
The world is watching.