New York, 20 December 2022
Thank you, Mr President.
I also thank SRSG Otunbayeva and USG Griffith for their update and detailed information. It is always of particular value to listen to the voice of the civil society, and we thank Ms Seraj, as a powerful voice of Afghan women, for her account.
Since august 2021, every time we meet to discuss about the situation in Afghanistan, we are bound to tell one desolate story: that of broken promises.
The Taliban have so far failed to uphold any promises made. They have misled the international community, have betrayed the people of Afghanistan and have let them down, particularly, the women and girls.
Calls for inclusivity and respect of fundamental rights have fallen on deaf ears so far.
Instead, the Taliban are continuously, methodically and resolutely engaged into repealing every achievement and democracy gains made during the previous two decades, to the detriment of Afghan people.
As we heard, there is hardly any aspect of the life in the country that doesn’t give reason for great concern.
Girls continue to be barred from secondary schools, an aberration brought from the most obscurantist times, which makes young girls at risk of child marriage, and economic and sexual exploitation.
Women are deprived of their rights, of safety, freedom and fulfilment, and are increasingly barred from public space. In Afghanistan, women feel left alone, at the mercy of men with long beards, who are inherently and openly anti-women, happy to impose degrading rules. Women have nowhere to turn – as there is no longer support, shelter or independent bodies to deal with their rights. The outside world, is their last resort.
Minorities are persecuted and the civic space continues to be severely restricted. Artists remained under threat and cultural heritage is under constant attack.
The severe rollback of the rights, reprisals targeting opponents and critics, and a clampdown on freedom of expression by the Taliban depict a descent into severe authoritarianism.
The complete absence of the rule of law, the disregard of the constitutional framework, the arbitrary exercise of power without recourse have only worsened the overall situation, perpetuating impunity.
The security situation is not better. Fears of continuing ties with the terrorist groups are reasonably grounded and should be addressed. We have seen an accelerating pace of attacks against Hazaras and Shi’a as well as other targets by the ISIL-Khurasan.
Despite improvements in revenue collection and fight against corruption – and it would be interesting to know how this benefits those millions in need -, the economy is in constant downfall. As we heard from the chair of 1988 committee, drug production, opium planting and trafficking are very much present. A growing humanitarian crisis, further exacerbated by climate change, global food and energy markets could have regional spillover effects.
We express our full support for the work of UNAMA in its efforts to implement the mandate in such extremely challenging environment.
We strongly encourage them not to be disheartened by the difficulties and have always in mind that, however little they may be able to achieve, citizens of Afghanistan see in them hope and encouragement.
UNAMA must insist with authorities to respect in full the commitments that derive from the treaties to which Afghanistan is a party. An inclusive government, respect for human rights and genuine fight against terrorism should be the red line in any engagement with the Taliban.
The draconian and misogynistic Taliban rule does not reflect Afghan religion, its culture or values.
The ruthless rulers are simply disfiguring Afghanistan into Talibanistan, making it a gender apartheid.
But we cannot give up.
We cannot abandon the people of Afghanistan to such desolation.
We cannot contemplate how 38 million people are deprived of their rights and dispossessed of their future.
The Taliban seek recognition. They must earn it, by representing the people, all the people, not just themselves.
This is why the work of UNAMA is crucial and it needs to be reviewed and adapted continuously as necessary.
I thank you.