Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Afghanistan
Statement27 September 2022
Merci Madame la Présidente.
My thanks also to Deputy Special Representative Potzel, Executive Director Ghada Waly and Ms Koofi for their briefings.
Ms Koofi, Ireland warmly welcomes you to this table this morning at the Security Council. You do so as an Afghan political leader and a vital voice for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. You do so also as a representative of every Afghan woman, denied her right to an active public life by the Taliban.
On a daily basis we hear reports from Afghanistan of Taliban repression. Of night raids, extra judicial killings and torture. Human rights defenders, journalists and media workers being deliberately targeted. This is compounded by the targeting of civilians, places of worship, schools and marketplaces by terrorists operating with freedom of movement.
Ireland condemns in the strongest terms the use of collective punishment by the Taliban against Hazara communities. We deplore incidents of inhumane and degrading punishments by the Taliban for so called ‘moral infractions’.
Women continue to bear the brunt of Taliban control. Erased from public life. Denied healthcare for lack of a mahram. Blocked from university and shut out of the workplace. Threatened and abused for how they wear or cover their hair. Ominously, the targeting of women, which this Council has consistently condemned for the past year, continues to escalate.
374 days ago, the Taliban shut the school door in the faces of a generation of Afghan girls. Denying their right to education. The ability to learn and reach their full potential. To contribute to Afghanistan’s future.
These abusive and oppressive tactics serve only to underline what we already know. The Taliban know only how to maintain power and consolidate control at the expense of minorities, on the backs of Afghan women and girls.
It is the Taliban alone conducting this regime of repression. It is the Taliban alone who can undo this harm.
As winter approaches, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. The latest update from OCHA on conflict-induced hunger was clear. Afghanistan faces alarming levels of food insecurity. Driven by economic shocks and aggravated by climate change, continuing violence and political upheaval.
The protracted humanitarian crisis has devastated families and communities across Afghanistan. Their capacity to cope exhausted. Their needs multiplying.
Sustained levels of support from the international community will be required. We urge donors to continue their commitment to the urgent humanitarian response. However, humanitarian support alone will not be enough. The international community must look at constructive ways to make space for more basic needs assistance to Afghans, which will help to build resilience and to prevent the worsening of crises.
Against this context of crisis, Taliban attacks, intimidation, and aggression against women humanitarian workers are truly reprehensible.
These actions have driven capable women from their jobs – denying them the agency to work and provide for their families. It also prevents many, and in particular women-led households, from receiving the aid they so desperately need.
Taliban actions are crippling the effectiveness of UN Agencies and NGOs to provide life-saving and life-sustaining support. Ireland wholly condemns these senseless acts.
We reiterate our calls to the Taliban to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access and to guarantee the safety and security of humanitarian workers.
We can and must hold the Taliban accountable for their actions. As has been made clear today, what the Taliban are doing in Afghanistan - their actions against the Afghan people and against Afghan women and girls - is undermining peace and security.
It is therefore our responsibility as members of the Security Council to respond. To call out abuses and violations. To insist on constructive dialogue, to find a negotiated path forward. This must include all Afghans, and with Afghan women at the table as equal participants.
It is our responsibility to take action against the Taliban when necessary. To not be rendered silent in the face of the devastating reality in Afghanistan. That is our mandate and the Council needs to live up to this mandate.
Thank you, Madame President.