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31st Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan: Oral statement

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31st Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council
on the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan

Delivered by Ahmed Adam
On behalf of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
24 August 2021


Madam President,

The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban over the past week has dramatically escalated the humanitarian and human rights crisis in the country with heightened fears of violence, persecution, and reprisals, especially against women, children, minorities, human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society.

The Taliban should be judged by their actions, not words and vague pledges to respect human rights. Reports of horrific abuses by the Taliban including violence against women, children and minorities, killings of human rights defenders and journalists and deliberate targeting of civilians have continued to emerge as the crisis unfolded across the country. Desperate scenes at Kabul airport over the past week demonstrate the gravity of the situation.

We call on the international community to provide protection for women, children, minorities, human rights defenders, their family members, and all who are at risk of reprisals and persecution. States have a legal and moral responsibility to provide safety for refugees and asylum seekers including by removing barriers to exit and entry.

The current tragedy in Afghanistan represents a grave failure by the international community. Words of condemnation at this Council are meaningless to the people of Afghanistan, unless they are backed by concrete action.

At minimum, the Council must mandate an independent investigative mechanism to monitor and report on the situation and investigate violations and abuses by all parties in Afghanistan. The credibility of the Council depends on how it responds to this crisis. The Council must not fail the people of Afghanistan again.

Thank you.