Statement by Ambassador Flynn at the UNSC Briefing on Afghanistan
Statement06 August 2021
Thank you Mr President,
Thank you also Special Representative Lyons for your deeply worrying, but really important, briefing. And I also thank Ambassador Isaczai, thank you for your participation here today. I would like to express my appreciation also to Ms Akbar, for addressing this Council once again and for your sobering words.
I want to begin by joining others in condemning in the strongest terms recent attacks in Afghanistan, including on the UN compound in Herat last Friday. We join others also in condemning the assassination of Dawa Khan Minapal. Our thoughts are with the families of those killed, and we wish those injured a swift recovery.
There is a real urgency to our discussion today. As SRSG Lyons so powerfully attested, this council needs to come together and needs to act.
The Afghan people are suffering devastating levels of violence. Afghanistan has been the most dangerous country in the world for civilians and even children for some years now. UNAMA’s mid-year report on the protection of civilians has documented record levels of civilian casualties as Ms Akbar also highlighted. The scale of the recent violence we have seen against civilians is truly shocking.
The Taliban must end their military offensive, which is causing such suffering, commit to a comprehensive ceasefire, and engage constructively in peace negotiations to reach a just and inclusive political settlement.
The Doha process has the support of the international community and remains our best hope at achieving the peace that the Afghan people so clearly demand and deserve. We deeply regret the failure of the Taliban to engage meaningfully in talks. We reiterate that there can be no military solution: violence begets only violence. Nowhere more than in Afghanistan have we seen this.
All sides must commit to a better future for Afghanistan and a negotiated settlement that guarantees inclusive governance, human rights protections especially for women, young people and minorities, and adherence to international law, including international humanitarian law. Afghanistan must never again become a haven for international terrorism.
To succeed, we know that Afghanistan’s peace process must also be inclusive, led and owned by Afghans. To achieve this, all Afghans – men, women, youth, minorities and civil society – must be allowed to participate equally and meaningfully in shaping their future.
Ireland stands by Security Council Resolution 2513 on Afghanistan. Along with our EU partners, our position on current and future support to the Afghan government requires adherence to the principles set out in the 2020 Afghanistan Partnership Framework.
We strongly encourage Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional states to support the Afghan people and to use their influence to promote a lasting peace that benefits all. We welcome the engagement of the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy in building regional consensus.
Let’s be clear. The deliberate targeting of civilians constitutes a war crime and it must end. All parties must uphold their responsibility to protect civilians, especially children.
Perpetrators of violations of international humanitarian law, and of human rights abuses and violations, must be brought to justice.
We share the deep concern expressed by others at the troubling human rights situation. The past two decades have seen the emergence of a vibrant Afghan civil society, which is now under threat from deliberate and disturbing attacks. Ireland unequivocally condemns these attacks, which target the very fabric of Afghan society.
Violence and intimidation against women and girls is threatening their ability to participate in all aspects of Afghan society. This Council must stand with them. Ireland and Mexico will host a meeting of the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security on Afghanistan this month to advance the efforts of the Council to address the situation facing Afghan women.
The surge in violence is increasing the number of internally displaced persons as the SRSG noted, is exacerbating the profound challenges faced by the more than 18 million people in need of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, who were already grappling with devastating food insecurity and the effects of COVID-19. Humanitarian actors need access, and protection.
In conclusion, SRSG Lyons, I want to pay tribute to UNAMA’s work in these most difficult circumstances. The UNs commitment to hold firm and serve the people of Afghanistan is unstinting, and we look forward to working with Council members on the UNAMA mandate renewal over the coming weeks.
We, the international community, must continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan to collectively and urgently find a way forward that meets their aspirations for peace and protects their rights.
Thank you Mr President.