Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Afghanistan
Statement20 December 2022
Thank you Mr. President.
I want to thank Ambassador Kamboj for her briefing in her capacity as Chair of the 1988 Committee. My thanks also to Special Representative Otunbayeva and USG Griffiths for their briefings. Ms Seraj, thank you for speaking to the reality of life under the Taliban for the Afghan people. As you say, a truly dire reality for so so many.
Today is the last opportunity of our current Security Council term to address the situation in Afghanistan. A situation that has deteriorated gravely these past two years, beyond what we had imagined or feared.
But, we must recognise, exactly as the Afghan people had warned.
This Council has moved from calls two years ago for inclusive dialogue in the pursuit of peace, to calls now to end the abuse and repression of the Afghan people.
Warnings from Afghan women that peace talks would fail without their full, equal and meaningful participation have been replaced by demands for the Taliban to halt the persecution, erasure and violence perpetrated against Afghan women and girls. Erasure, that word that Ms Seraj used so movingly, and Mahram too.
Girls denied 435 days of the right to education.
The concern of the international community for the protection of Afghan civilians have escalated to pleas for the Taliban to prevent the further suffering, starvation and subjugation of a people on the brink.
The principal responsibility of the Security Council is the maintenance of international peace and security. Yet there is no peace in Afghanistan – not for the Afghan people nor for humanitarians delivering lifesaving assistance. Neither is there peace and security in the region, with cross border terrorism, weapons proliferation and narcotics trafficking.
We are failing in this responsibility. We are failing to hold the Taliban truly to account or fully to account. We are failing to uphold the rights and dignity of the Afghan people.
Once more, this Council meets to hear of intensifying abuses being perpetrated by the Taliban against the Afghan people. Surveillance, arbitrary arrest, detention and targeted attacks against Afghan civilians – particularly Hazara and other religious minorities, human rights defenders and LGBTQI+ persons. The abhorrent return of the practices of public floggings and public executions.
While the Taliban consolidate control through abuse and violence, this Council has a responsibility to recognise and call out these actions. Ireland condemns these abuses in the strongest terms and we call on the Taliban to put an end to its tyranny of its own people, the Afghan people.
These stark human rights abuses take place against the bleak and shocking humanitarian situation outlined by USG Griffiths, including climate crisis and famine. While Resolution 2615, providing exemptions for humanitarian assistance, may have prevented systemic collapse in Afghanistan – more than two thirds of the Afghan people remain in severe humanitarian need.
Levels of emergency food insecurity in Afghanistan are now among the highest in the world.
Ireland reiterates our call for the Taliban to end the intimidation of women humanitarians. We also wholly condemn all instances of aid inference and diversion. There is no justification for blocking lifesaving and life sustaining support.
Ireland commends the tireless efforts of Afghan human rights defenders and civil society leaders advocating for their agency and their rights. We salute in particular the brave women of Afghanistan. Their rights are inalienable. They cannot, and must not, be traded away now in exchange for promises of improvement in the future. We encourage UNAMA to heed their calls for greater participation in negotiations and dialogue processes. And also for the international community to create avenues for direct engagement with Afghan women.
The international community must match the courage and the bravery of the Afghan people with our own courage. The Security Council must use the tools available to it in support of the Afghan people, their needs and their rights and to hold the Taliban accountable for their actions.
The humanitarian, security and human rights crises in Afghanistan are strikingly clear. Our mandate as a Council is also equally clear. And our response as a Council must also be clear and unambiguous, particularly with regards to the Taliban
For our part, Ireland will remain actively engaged on this issue, in support of the Afghan people, even as we step away from this Council.
Thank you Mr. President.