General Assembly Voices Deep Concern Over Volatility in Afghanistan since Taliban Takeover, Unflinching Commitment to Afghans, Adopting Resolution by Vote
The General Assembly today expressed deep concern over the volatility in Afghanistan since the takeover of the Taliban in 2021, and the persistent violence and presence of terrorist groups as well as abuse of human rights, including those of women, girls and minorities.
By a recorded vote of 116 in favour to none against, with 10 abstentions (Belarus, Burundi, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Zimbabwe), the Assembly adopted a text titled “The situation in Afghanistan” (document A/77/L.11), reiterating its unwavering commitment to international humanitarian law and the human rights of all Afghans. Deeply concerned about the dire economic and humanitarian situation, it called on the Taliban to ensure the security of humanitarian workers there.
Also by the wide-ranging resolution, the Assembly expressed deep concern about the growing repression of fundamental freedoms and strongly emphasized the need to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Afghanistan. It reiterated its serious concern about the continuing violence and the presence of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaida and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also known as Da’esh. It noted with grave concern that millions of people face emergency levels of food insecurity and acknowledged that women and children are disproportionally affected by the humanitarian crisis.
General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary) expressed alarm that the United Nations humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan is only half funded. With winter just weeks away, Member States must reduce the $2.3 billion shortfall. It is deeply concerning that narcotics now make up the country's largest economic sector. “We know where these drugs are sent and we know who profits from these drugs,” he said, also calling on the Taliban to engage in serious counter-terrorism dialogue and stop the flow of foreign extremists into the country.
Afghanistan’s delegate said that Taliban’s failure to establish a legitimate and inclusive government as well as its unwillingness to address the country’s many crises has isolated the country from the international community. After the takeover by the Taliban in August 2021, Afghanistan has witnessed an increasing number of socioeconomic and humanitarian crises, which has led to the collapse of two decades of hard-won gains.
More than 24 million people need humanitarian assistance, he stressed, warning also that terrorist attacks on civilian targets and minority groups have increased and women and girls are being systematically erased from all areas of public life. He commended the draft resolution for its balanced representation of the situation in a manner which underscores the most pressing issues while urging the international community to provide assistance, including humanitarian aid.
The representative of Germany, introducing the text, said that the Taliban controls the country, but does not live up to its responsibility to the Afghan people. There is an absence of any effort towards inclusive governance and a long-term political solution to govern the country. “We expect a harsh winter and levels of need that we have not seen in the last decades,” she warned.
Several delegates expressed alarm at the fact that no other country except Afghanistan bans girls from going to school. Also, women locked out of the workforce is just as jarring a policy and one that will severely stunt the country’s development. The representative of the United States said if the Taliban hopes to be seen as legitimate and if Afghanistan is to resume its rightful place in the international community, it must allow women and girls to return their place in society.
There were also several delegations who flagged the resolution as biased and unbalanced. Iran’s representative expressed disappointment that the text failed to refer to the role of foreign military intervention as well as the irresponsible withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. Afghanistan should serve as a reminder that military intervention in other countries under the pretext of combating terrorism only harms those States and their people, he said.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that instead of an honest and objective process which considers all positions, his Western colleagues engaged in “backroom games and manipulation” to remove from the text any references to the investigations into the Western coalition’s military crimes in Afghanistan.
Other delegates, particularly from the region, underscored the spillover effects of the illicit opium cultivation and drug production and trafficking, while others stressed the importance of keeping channels of communication with the Taliban open to bring forth concrete results. Some speakers emphasized the imperative of addressing the issue of Afghanistan’s frozen assets. Humanitarian aid was critical but only a band-aid solution to a much deeper problem, they said.
Pakistan’s representative, for example, called for the release of Afghanistan’s reserves, currently being held abroad, and urged the bolstering of regional economic partnerships. Regardless of ideological considerations, he said, the world must welcome the fact that one authority controls all of Afghanistan, and that there is “no credible challenge” to it.
The delegate from the United Kingdom stressed the need for the Taliban to ensure transparency on revenue and budget and re-establish a credible and independent central bank. “We must continue to support economic stabilization while standing firm on holding the Taliban to its commitment, including on counter-terrorism and protecting human rights,” he said.
Also speaking today were representatives of Saudi Arabia (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council), Finland (on behalf of the Nordic Countries), Qatar, India, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Canada, Poland, Chile, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Kuwait, Japan, Ireland, Slovenia and China. The representative of the European Union spoke in its capacity as observer. An observer for the Sovereign Order of Malta also spoke.
The Russian Federation took the floor on a point of order. The representative of Pakistan spoke in explanation of vote.
The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 14 November, to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, said the situation in Afghanistan is disastrous. Two thirds of the population is hungry. Girls and women are banned from learning, having a job or getting proper medical care. The country is awash in heroin and opium. Organized crime and terrorist organizations are thriving once again. The country is facing complex and interlinked challenges, which the Taliban has shown they cannot or will not address. The United Nations humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan, which requires $4.4 billion, is only half funded. With winter weather just weeks away, he encouraged Member States to provide urgent support to help reduce the $2.3 billion shortfall.
Afghanistan has a rich history of significant achievement, he continued, encouraging the country to allow women, who used to be respected members of the country's science community, to resume their research and studies. “Afghanistan is now the only State in the world that would deny girls the rights to education,” he said. The Taliban must ensure the safety of all Afghans regardless of gender, ethnic background, religious belief, or political affiliation. The Taliban must also ensure the protection of journalists, civil society members and humanitarian workers.
The dramatic changes of 2021 have taken a massive toll on Afghanistan's economy and profoundly widened its security risks, he continued. Narcotics now make up the country's largest economic sector. “We know where these drugs are sent and we know who profits from these drugs,” he said. The threat from drug trafficking is linked with the threat of terrorism. It is crucial that Taliban leaders engage in serious counterterrorism dialogue to stop and reverse the flow of foreign extremists into the country and prevent their own from becoming foreign terrorist fighters in other countries. Afghanistan must never again become a breeding ground and haven for terrorism. The international community has a moral obligation to support the country.
Introduction of Draft Resolution
ANTJE LEENDERTSE (Germany), introducing draft resolution on the situation in Afghanistan (document A/77/L.11), expressed deep alarm that half of Afghanistan’s population is subject to critical levels of food insecurity. “We expect a harsh winter and levels of need that we have not seen in the last decades, with little prospect for economic recovery and reduction of poverty,” she warned. Extremely worrying is the systematic oppression of women and girls, who cannot enjoy their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. There is also an absence of any effort towards inclusive governance and a sustainable long-term political solution to govern the country. “We have not seen any effort from the Taliban towards the full enjoyment by women and girls and persons belonging to minorities of their human rights,” she said. Security remains fragile. “The Taliban control the country, but do not live up to their responsibility towards the Afghan people.” The draft resolution, if adopted, will send a strong signal of support to the Afghan people. The resolution also will serve as testimony to the General Assembly’s support for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
NASEER AHMED FAIQ (Afghanistan) spotlighted the dramatic social, economic and political upheavals which have occurred in his country since 2019. After the takeover by the Taliban in August 2021, Afghanistan has witnessed an increasing number of socioeconomic and humanitarian crises, which has led to the collapse and regression of two decades of hard-won gains. The Taliban’s failure to establish a legitimate, accountable and inclusive government as well as its unwillingness to address the country’s many crises have deeply affected the lives of its people and isolated the country from the international community. More than 24 million people need humanitarian assistance, terrorist attacks on civilian targets and minority groups have increased, women and girls are being systematically erased from all areas of public life, and human rights violations are ongoing. The Afghan people are not safe in places of education and worship and have been the recurring victims of terror attacks.
He commended the draft resolution for its balanced representation of the situation in a manner which underscores the most pressing issues while urging the international community to provide assistance, including humanitarian aid. The text highlights the human rights situation and the serious concerns for women, youth and minorities. It is most important that this and other United Nations resolutions on the situation be implemented. An inclusive, representative, and responsive government at the national and subnational levels, with full, equal and meaningful participation is the only path to a sustainable and lasting peace with economic and political stability. The Afghan people deserve a peaceful, decent and dignified life, and the resolution must be adopted by consensus to protect their needs and ensure that their struggle is not forgotten.
BJÖRN OLOF SKOOG, Head of Delegation of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, reiterated support for the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Sustainable peace in Afghanistan requires an inclusive political process with the full, equal and meaningful participation of all Afghans, including all ethnic groups and religious minorities and the meaningful participation of women in decision-making positions. The European Union remains deeply alarmed by the increase of human rights violations in Afghanistan. Accountability must be ensured, he said, reiterating the European Union’s unwavering commitment to the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in all spheres of life. “Nowhere else are girls banned from attending secondary education. This is unacceptable and must be revoked immediately,” he added.
He said that persons belonging to ethnic groups and religious minorities, notably Hazaras and the Shia population, “LGBTI” persons, human rights defenders and journalists suffer physical abuse, enforced disappearances, torture and killings. Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation is expected to deteriorate further during the upcoming winter. The European Union stands ready to continue its support to the Afghan people in close coordination with international partners. It has re-established minimal presence in Kabul to help ensure the delivery of assistance, he said, urging the Taliban to guarantee all humanitarian staff, including female staff, safe and unhindered access to the entire territory. All efforts must be pursued to ensure that the Taliban cease all ties with international terrorism. The Union maintains contact with the Taliban in order to allow for dialogue on political priorities and ensure the bloc can provide support to the Afghan people. That engagement, however, is not an international legitimation of the Taliban-appointed interim government.
ABDULAZIZ M. ALWASIL (Saudi Arabia), speaking on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, called on the international community to convey a message of solidarity and support to the Afghan people. He was deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The Afghan economy is unable to discharge its main functions, he added, also expressing concern over the dwindling rights of women and girls and the escalation of terrorist threats. Building a secure and safe Afghanistan is key to achieving peace and stability in the region.
He denounced and rejected all forms of violence aimed at destabilizing Afghanistan and which run counter to all religions and humanitarian values. He reaffirmed the country’s independence, territorial integrity and unity and the importance of restoring peace and security in the country. The Gulf Cooperation Council has provided support and aid to help alleviate Afghanistan’s humanitarian needs. He urged the international community to “not give up on the Afghan people” and assist them in achieving their aspirations to build a free and safe society.
ELINA KALKKU (Finland), speaking also on behalf of the Nordic countries, urged the international community to sustain its attention to the situation in Afghanistan and developments on the ground. Alarmed at the human rights situation there, she said that women’s and girls’ full and equal enjoyment of their human rights can never be negotiable. Their rights must be a political priority, and the Taliban must ensure the fulfilment of Afghanistan’s obligations under international law. It must reconsider decisions and policies that restrict the rights of women and their participation in economic, social and political life. The Taliban must live up to its promises and open schools for girls.
She condemned the killings, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, discrimination, abuse and reprisals against protestors, as well as persons belonging to ethnic and religious groups, human rights defenders and media workers. The de facto authorities must engage with them, enable their work and participation, and fully implement and enforce amnesty. As for the broader security situation, she was concerned at the continuing attacks against civilians, schools and mosques. Those responsible must be held accountable and the de facto authorities must provide security. Also urgent was to allow the continued flow of humanitarian aid and support for the Afghan people and their livelihoods. The Taliban must ensure that this help continues independently without any interference by the de facto authorities. She called on the international community to explore sustainable ways to secure financial transactions in and out of Afghanistan to prevent an economic collapse.
STEPHEN DOUGLAS BUNCH (United States), reiterating his country’s commitment to Afghanistan’s women, girls and at-risk ethnic communities, spotlighted the severe restrictions limiting women’s access to education and work, as well as their freedom of movement and assembly. If the Taliban hope to be seen as legitimate and if Afghanistan is to resume its rightful place in the international community, it must allow women and girls to return their place in society. He urged the international community to provide generous support for the Afghan people and he called for full, safe and unhindered access for all humanitarian personnel. The Afghan Fund protects, preserves and disburses $3.5 billion of Afghanistan’s central bank assets to address the economic and humanitarian crises by facilitating macroeconomic and financial stability. He commended the draft before the Assembly for its balanced nature and encouraged its unanimous support.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar), associating herself with the Gulf Cooperation Council, said her country has deployed tireless diplomatic efforts in recent years to facilitate negotiations between Afghanistan’s warring parties. Qatar’s initiatives have also focused on protecting civilians, delivering humanitarian and development aid, and strengthening the political, economic and social rights of the Afghan people, including the rights of children, particularly girls. Qatar also facilitated the evacuation of some 80,000 people out of Afghanistan. She called on Member States to support Afghanistan and to ensure that the country does not become a “deplorable example” of the failure of the international community and of humanity.
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India) said his country’s main priorities in Afghanistan include the provision of immediate humanitarian assistance, facilitating the formation of a truly inclusive and representative government, combatting terrorism and drug trafficking, and preserving the rights of women, children and minorities. These benchmarks were also set forth in Security Council resolution 2593 (2021), which has guided the international community’s collective approach. He spotlighted India’s humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan over the past several months, as well as its deployment of a technical team to its Embassy in Kabul to monitor and coordinate efforts and its recent seizures of drug ships in its ports and off its coasts. Only a broad-based, inclusive and representative government can provide long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan, he emphasized.
BAKHTIYOR IBRAGIMOV (Uzbekistan) said that Afghanistan is experiencing the deepest socioeconomic and humanitarian crisis in its recent history. “Unfortunately, against the backdrop of other current international challenges, the settlement of the Afghan issue began to fade into the background.” Today more than ever, however, the Afghan people need help from the international community. Forming an inclusive government with the participation of all ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan is key. The Taliban must also respect fundamental human rights, especially those of women and national minorities. It must give all Afghan girls access to education and cut ties with various terrorist groups. These steps will improve its standing with the international community and may sway some Member States to resume donor assistance to the country, he added.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) noted the attempts by Western countries to impose their own interpretation of events in Afghanistan and obscure the consequences of their own actions. There is a clear hypocritical shifting of blame for their military campaign, he said, adding that the concerns of regional States have been ignored. Instead of an honest and objective process which considers all positions, his Western colleagues have engaged in “backroom games and manipulation” to remove from the text any references to the investigations into the Western coalition’s military crimes in Afghanistan. The West would like the world to forget the irresponsible acts of the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). There is also scant attention paid to the protracted issue of Afghanistan’s frozen assets. Also disappointing was the lack of recognition of the role of regional organizations. The Russian Federation’s vote against the unbalanced text should only be interpreted as its disapproval of the penholders’ actions and methods of work.
MOHAMMAD AAMIR KHAN (Pakistan) said that preventing a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan must be a top priority for the international community. Despite Pakistan’s hardships, heightened recently by massive flooding, it continues to support its neighbour and Afghans in need. The release of Afghanistan’s reserves, currently being held abroad, will be crucial to resume normal business activities. Regional economic partnerships could also contribute to Afghanistan’s economy, which is in dire need of support. Regardless of ideological considerations, the world must welcome the fact that one authority controls all of Afghanistan, and that “there is no credible challenge to its authority”. Spoilers must never be allowed to incite violence and instability in Afghanistan. It is of vital importance to end the threat of terrorism in Afghanistan. “We must develop a comprehensive anti-terror strategy,” he said, adding: “And to do so, engagement with the de facto Government is essential”.
Mr. RAZALI (Malaysia) urged the international community to work hand-in-hand with the Afghan people to alleviate their suffering, especially in addressing food insecurity and the humanitarian devastation. Echoing the Secretary-General’s appeal for funding to the humanitarian response plan, he reiterated Malaysia’s commitment to an inclusive Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and national reconciliation process, which upholds human rights and fundamental freedoms. All impediments to the full enjoyment of girls’ rights to education must be promptly removed. He condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, deploring the attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure. He called for the prompt implementation of UNAMA’s recommendations and encouraged concrete measures to address the narcotics problem given its strong linkages to criminal activities and terrorism. Malaysia will collaborate with third countries to provide humanitarian assistance, human capital development and financial support to the Afghan people, he pledged.
JUAN GÓMEZ ROBLEDO VERDUZCO (Mexico) expressed concern for the repression of women, girls and minorities in Afghanistan. The fundamental right to education must be fully respected. “This is necessary to ensure the future of Afghanistan,” he stressed. It is frustrating to repeatedly express respect for commitments without seeing concrete results. He called for a legal framework that ensures access to justice. In the face of growing levels of food insecurity, there must be unrestricted humanitarian access, without discrimination. Afghanistan’s economic recovery is urgent, he said, expressing deep concern for the exclusion of women from the workforce. This “prevents lasting results from being obtained,” he said, recalling that sustainable peace means women’s full participation in society. Afghanistan must not be allowed to once again become an operating base for terrorist activities.
MARISKA DWIANTI DHANUTIRTO (Indonesia) underscored the need for a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process which focuses on the needs of the Afghan people. The full, equal, effective and meaningful participation of Afghan women in all walks of life is crucial to overcoming the crisis and building a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan. To that end, Indonesia has been prioritizing women’s empowerment and, in partnership with Qatar, provided scholarships and capacity-building at the grass-roots level to ensure the protection and promotion of human rights. Understanding the dynamics and interplay between religion and multifaceted conflicts in the country is essential for a more sustainable future and engagement in the peacebuilding process. The de facto authorities must fulfil their promises and commitments and should develop a road map with action plans to ensure safety in Afghanistan and overall stability in the region.
AMIR SAEID JALIL IRAVANI (Iran) said that the situation in Afghanistan serves as a reminder that military intervention in other countries under the pretext of combating terrorism while claiming to bring democracy, peace, and prosperity not only degrades those common values but also harms those States and their people. The Taliban must be mindful of the international community's repeated calls for the formation of a government that accurately reflects Afghanistan's multi-ethnic society. Restoring banking and financial systems as well as enabling access to frozen assets belonging to Afghanistan’s Central Bank is crucial. Regarding the draft resolution, he said it is regrettable that the text fails to refer to the role of foreign military intervention as well as the irresponsible withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. It is crucial to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by foreign forces, including those previously conducted and now “deprioritized” due to bias and political pressure. Addressing the serious threat of the illicit opium cultivation as well as drug production and trafficking, must be a priority. Iran pays a high price for it for this menace.
MITCHELL FIFIELD (Australia), expressing concern for the disproportionate and methodical targeting of the Hazara community in Afghanistan, called on the Taliban to respect the rights of all Afghans and ensure the protection of ethnic and religious minorities. The Taliban has doubled down on repression and non-inclusion and has been negligent in providing the most basic services to the Afghan people. Afghanistan remains the only country in the world to deny girls their full right to education. “This is unacceptable,” he said, urging the Taliban to immediately end the exclusion of girls from secondary education and set a firm date for the opening of secondary schools to all children. The Taliban must respect the rights of Afghan women and girls by removing restrictions on their movement and their right to access employment, he added.
ROBERT KEITH RAE (Canada) said that it has been 15 months since the fall of Kabul completed the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Millions of Afghans are facing acute hunger. Girls throughout much of the country cannot go to school. Women cannot participate in the once-vibrant country’s economic and social life, and terrorist groups are proliferating. The United Nations and its agencies have been the main link between the Afghan people and the international community. With winter approaching, their needs, not being met by the Taliban, will only worsen. “While we should all be doing more to support the Afghan people, our ability to do so is restricted by the very policies of the Taliban,” he said, also asking: “How can we trust the Taliban as it continues to ignore its commitments by engaging with terrorist groups active in Afghanistan and beyond, as well as terrorize its own people?” It is essential that a united message be sent to the Afghan people that they are not abandoned and that the commitment to defend their fundamental rights remains strong.
JOANNA SYLWIA SKOCZEK (Poland), associating with the European Union, expressed her concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, as well as the reluctance of the Taliban to render the political system more inclusive. Instead, it continues human rights restrictions and violations as well as the institutionalized and systematic oppression of Afghan women. As a founding member of the Group of Friends of Women of Afghanistan, Poland encourages its members to utilize the informal forum to generate the necessary political momentum and provide further support to the full, equal and meaningful enjoyment by Afghan women and girls of their rights. The lack of rapprochement between Afghanistan and the international community inhibits the restoration of much-needed international development assistance and economic and trade relations. She underscored UNAMA’s critical role in facilitating international engagement, and commended it for its uninterrupted presence and efforts.
PAULA NARVÁEZ OJEDA (Chile) expressed her concerns over the continued and severe restrictions on women and girls. Despite the promises in principle of the de facto authorities that women and girls could exercise their rights, they continue to be systematically excluded from public life. The ban on attending secondary school makes Afghanistan the only country in the world to deny girls their full right to education. She referenced several of the Taliban’s decrees restricting their movements and noted that decades of progress on gender equality and women’s rights disappeared within a few months. Afghan women and girls must know that they are not alone, that the international community has not forgotten its responsibility and obligation to defend their rights and amplify their voices.
AMEIRAH OBAID MOHAMED OBAID ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates), associating herself with the Gulf Cooperation Council, called on Afghanistan’s de facto authorities to engage with the international community to prevent the country from becoming a terrorist haven. Communication channels should remain open with de facto authorities to achieve tangible results. Women and girls’ access to education is not an option, but a necessity for the country’s advancement. Women must be allowed to have meaningful contributions in their communities. She reiterated the importance of uniting all international efforts to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. She further noted the humanitarian funding provided by her country as well as its assistance in helping evacuate tens of thousands of people out of Afghanistan. The economy must be revitalized to relieve the needs of the people.
MARK ZELLENRATH (Netherlands), associating with the European Union, commended the draft resolution for its balanced nature and clear message. In spotlighting the drastically different situation on the ground in Afghanistan over the past two years, he said the de facto authorities are not taking the necessary steps as a responsible government of either the Afghan people or the international community. The plethora of challenges in Afghanistan cannot be solved without an inclusive government which represents all Afghan people. History shows that isolating Afghanistan is not an option, as instability will spill over to the interconnected world. There must be continued pressure on the de facto authorities to be better. In order to achieve a sustainable and lasting peace, they must fully respect civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights and commit to inclusive and representative governance, he emphasized.
BADER AZIZ R. M. KH. ALDEHANI (Kuwait), associating with the Gulf Cooperation Council, highlighted his country’s efforts in evacuating thousands of people from Afghanistan. Kuwait is committed to providing humanitarian relief to the Afghan people. It will continue to contribute millions of dollars in assistance. Kuwait’s charities have also been eagerly involved in delivering aid to Afghanistan. His country will also continue to collaborate to meet the basic needs of the Afghan people, especially as winter approaches. He reaffirmed Kuwait’s commitment to working with humanitarian actors at the regional and global levels to help the Afghan people.
TAMAURA SHU (Japan), in spotlighting the recent developments concerning Afghan security, anti-corruption measures and humanitarian access, said that the Taliban is far from fulfilling its commitments to the Afghan people. There is much work to be done, such as building an inclusive political system which listens to the voices of all people, respects the rights of all Afghans and cuts off ties to terrorism completely. Addressing such issues will benefit the Taliban, earn the trust of the international community and secure the necessary resources and assistance for rebuilding the country. He reiterated Japan’s continued commitment to Afghanistan, including as an incoming member of the Security Council.
CAÍT MORAN (Ireland), associating with the European Union, expressed her concern over the violence, abuse, subjugation and hunger suffered by millions of Afghans. Every member of the Assembly should be troubled. She described the recent edicts banning women from Kabul’s public parks and funfairs as the latest devastating example of the Taliban’s disdain for Afghan women. As winter approaches, the international community must continue to provide critical humanitarian assistance and fulfil basic needs. She spotlighted her country’s work as a Security Council member in supporting UNAMA and the United Nations Country Team in Afghanistan. The draft resolution is an important articulation of the international community’s responsibility to the Afghan people to call out human rights violations and insist on the peoples’ inalienable rights. She urged the Assembly to uphold this responsibility, and called for accountability from the Taliban.
BOŠTJAN MALOVRH (Slovenia) said it is important for UNAMA to maintain an active presence in the country and for all actors in Afghanistan to ensure a safe and secure environment for its work, as mandated by Security Council resolution 2626 (2022). The human rights situation in Afghanistan has worsened dramatically in particular for women and girls. He called for full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in public life, education, employment, access to health care and services, as well as their right to move freely, express and assemble. The adoption of the resolution will provide an updated political, humanitarian and developmental framework for future dialogue towards addressing the needs of Afghan people.
RICHARD CROKER (United Kingdom) said that more than 28 million people in Afghanistan are in need of humanitarian assistance. If food assistance is not sustained, famine-like conditions can emerge. Afghanistan’s recovery requires the Taliban to uphold rather than suppress human rights. Inclusive governance and protection of minorities are vital. Crimes against humanity must be investigated. The Taliban must ensure transparency on revenue and the budget as well as re-establish an independent central bank with the right expertise. “We must continue to support economic stabilization while standing firm on holding the Taliban to its commitment, including on counter-terrorism and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said.
ZHANG JUN (China) called on the international community to encourage the Afghan authorities to build a broad and inclusive political structure, eradicate terrorism and explore a workable governance model. It must continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people especially in light of the looming, harsh winter. The Taliban must respond to the concerns of the international community and guarantee the rights of the Afghan people, especially to education and employment. Humanitarian aid must not be politicized or tethered to political issues. Countries which bear the primary responsible for the current situation must earnestly reflect on and rectify their mistakes. Additionally, Afghanistan’s overseas assets must be returned immediately. He said the draft resolution is unbalanced, and he regretted that important elements, such as the unfreezing of Afghanistan’s assets, investigating crimes committed by foreign troops, the proliferation of risks relating to abandoned weapons, and the vital contributions of regional organizations, have been excluded at the wish of certain countries.
PETER DAVIDSON MCGUIRE, observer for the Sovereign Order of Malta, said investment in education is one of the most effective ways of making the world and history more human. Despite this, the Secretary-General’s report sombrely confirms that the ban on secondary education for girls makes Afghanistan the only country in the world to deny their access to full education. Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5 are clearly not being fulfilled in Afghanistan, and yet there is no tool for development more successful than the education of girls. Nearly 50 per cent of the Afghan population lives in hunger, and 55 per cent in poverty. This is the tipping point of whether the 2030 Agenda will be reached — this day, this year, this week. Every nation needs to fully harness the themes of the seventy-seventh General Assembly session: solidarity, science, and technology, all of which must be implemented to achieve the world’s goals.
Point of Order
On a point of order, the representative of the Russian Federation noted that she needed to repeat her previous statement, due to problems with its earlier interpretation. Expressing regret that the document is unbalanced due to the partisan position of one group of Western countries, she said that Afghanistan is in a difficult situation where women cannot work or study and are forced to give away their children just to feed their families. However, the West remains silent and refuses to look at real steps that could improve the situation, such as de-freezing assets. Her delegation is compelled, therefore, to put this resolution to a vote, she said, reaffirming support to Afghanistan and its people.
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution, entitled “The situation in Afghanistan” (document A/77/L.11) by a recorded vote of 116 in favour to none against, with 10 abstentions (Belarus, Burundi, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Zimbabwe).
Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of Pakistan said his delegation abstained, while noting his country’s active participation in the consultations. Welcoming the text’s commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan as well as the references to overcoming security challenges and enhancing human rights, he said the resolution remains unbalanced and unrealistic. It does not acknowledge that there is a de facto new Government in Afghanistan and nor delineate any process to promote normalization there through engagement with that Government. Further, there is no commitment to unfreeze Afghanistan's national reserves or to help its economic recovery beyond humanitarian assistance. He also was disappointed that one delegation was allowed to block references to terrorist organizations.