Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Byrne Nason - Afghanistan Humanitarian Exemption
Statement22 December 2021
Thank you Mr President.
We welcome the adoption this morning of this resolution providing a much needed and unequivocal exemption to the sanctions imposed under the 1988 Taliban sanctions regime. It provides clarity and will facilitate, and accelerate, the provision of vital life-saving and life sustaining humanitarian assistance into Afghanistan.
The dire humanitarian need in Afghanistan has been the shared focus of this Council for some months. We have been repeatedly warned of the magnitude and gravity of the humanitarian crisis - by Special Representative of the Secretary General Lyons, by UN agencies, and most importantly, by the people of Afghanistan. They have been clear. Winter has arrived and millions are now facing acute hunger. Women led households have been particularly impacted. Children are facing malnutrition and starvation.
While the Taliban continues to bear primary responsibility for the conditions facing the people of Afghanistan, the international community and this Council had to take action in face of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Today, the Council has stepped up and, finally, delivered on our obligation to facilitate the urgent and very necessary humanitarian response.
The next step is to ensure that humanitarian assistance, which is now required at unprecedented levels, is delivered to every person in need. We reiterate our call, clearly stated in the resolution, that all actors must ensure full, safe and unhindered access to all humanitarian workers, regardless of gender.
In welcoming the adoption of this text this morning, Ireland remains clear-eyed as to what must yet be done. We recognise this text could, and should, be stronger in acknowledging and addressing the plight of women and girls in Afghanistan. We know from the first hand testimonies of Afghan women, that they have been disproportionately affected by the economic and humanitarian crises and face greater barriers to obtaining food and accessing health care services. Their burdens and the risks they take to raise their voice will remain Ireland’s focus as this Council continues to respond to the situation in Afghanistan.
Mr President, I want to be clear that in our view the one-year timeline for the review of the humanitarian exemption is not intended in any way as one year of license to the Taliban, nor is it one year when we won’t insist that they be held to account. Their actions to date have shown open disregard for the norms and values we uphold, in particular in relation to human rights and gender equality. This exemption is to immediately provide support to the people of Afghanistan who are in dire need. Nothing more. We will continue to consider our next steps, in light of the ongoing needs of the Afghan people and we will remain vigilant in relation to the actions, not the words, of the Taliban.
Thank you, Mr President.