Statement at the Arria-formula meeting on Afghanistan
Statement17 November 2022
Thank you Chair.
Let me join others in thanking our briefers this morning for their very helpful interventions.
Chair, it is very clear that the crises facing Afghanistan today are multiple:
Appalling food insecurity.
A collapsing economy.
Widespread humanitarian need and
Persisting acts of terror,
Along with systematic and brutal abuses of human rights.
These crises are devastating for the Afghan people. And they are wholly interconnected.
As we consider our role as the international community in supporting the Afghan people through these crises, it is important to recall one clear fact.
By violently seizing power in August 2021, it was the Taliban who triggered the economic and humanitarian spiral which has engulfed Afghanistan. And it is the Taliban who are now shamelessly neglecting their responsibility to the people they claim to lead, further deepening these crises.
Over the last 15 months of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, we have seen -
The persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, particularly the Hazara.
425 days of denial of the right to education for Afghan girls.
The erosion of a previously vibrant and vital civil society.
The decimation of Afghanistan’s free and independent media, and targeting of journalists.
Discrimination and violence against LGBTQI+ persons.
Sadly, Rather than addressing the real needs of the Afghan people, the Taliban has focused on -
Targeted arrests of peaceful protesters and those voicing views contrary to Taliban diktats.
Diversion and interference with the delivery of vital humanitarian aid.
Multiple edicts focused on the subjugation of the women of Afghanistan.
And, we have seen the widespread dismissal of Afghan women from the civil and public services; the denial of their right to a public life; and the persistent refusal to acknowledge or safeguard their fundamental equality as citizens of Afghanistan. As others have said this morning, the economic implications of wide-spread exclusion of over half the population are self-evident.
. The continued actions of the Taliban against the Afghan people are deepening and sustaining this suffering. But it is clear that the international community remains active and engaged in support of the Afghan people.
When the ‘chilling effect’ caused by the Taliban’s takeover became evident, the Council reacted decisively with the adoption of Resolution 2615. This provided certainty for critical humanitarian support, and recognised the importance of supporting basic needs in Afghanistan.
The renewal of UNAMA’s mandate in March of last year enabled the Mission to coordinate the provision of humanitarian assistance and basic needs - offering further reassurance to donors and the Afghan communities they serve.
Humanitarian aid and basic needs assistance continues to be provided, to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people. The European Union continues to play its part – this week with the announcement of a €1 billion package of support. This is a committed response to the urgent needs of the Afghan people, and in support of neighbouring countries hosting Afghan refugee populations.
A change in Afghanistan’s trajectory is possible and the ingredients of change remain in the hands of the Taliban.
The Taliban can -
End the systematic oppression and abuse of human rights of the Afghan people
Allow women and ethnic minorities to return to work
End the cruel and illogical ban on girl’s education
End aid interference and diversion
Cut all ties with terrorist entities
Allow for the establishment of an inclusive and participatory process to establish a truly representative and democratic government in Afghanistan, with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women.
The international community has not forgotten the needs, rights and dignity of the people of Afghanistan. It is beyond time for the Taliban to respect and uphold them.
Thank you Chair.