Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Afghanistan: World must act on ‘make or break moment’ – UN chief

Amidst a growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, on Monday UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the world to take action during a “make or break” moment for the country.

“If we do not act and help Afghans weather this storm, and do it soon, not only they but all the world will pay a heavy price”, Mr. Guterres told journalists in New York, ahead of Tuesday, when G20 leading industrialized nations will meet to discuss the country embroiled in crisis.

Currently, at least 18 million people, or about half of the country’s population are affected.

“Without food, without jobs, without their rights protected, we will see more and more Afghans fleeing their homes in search of a better life. The flow of illicit drugs, criminal and terrorist networks will also likely increase”, Mr. Guterres warned.

For him, “this will not only badly affect Afghanistan itself, but also the region and the rest of the world”. More

Afghanistan: ‘Palpable’ fear of ‘brutal and systemic repression’ of women grows

Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month, they have made some commitments to uphold human rights. However, their subsequent actions have “sadly contradicted” those promises, the UN rights chief told a side event of the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Michelle Bachelet informed a high-level event on safeguarding 20 years of international engagement in Afghanistan, that women have been “progressively excluded from the public sphere”, prohibited from appearing without a male guardian and face increasing restrictions on their right to work.

There is real and palpable fear among Afghan women of a return to the Taliban’s brutal and systemic repression of women and girls during the 1990s”, said the High Commissioner. More

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary General on Afghanistan

At the request of the Secretary-General, Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the United Nations, is currently in Kabul.
 
During his visit today Mr. Griffiths met with Mullah Baradar and the leadership of the Taliban in Kabul to engage with the authorities on humanitarian issues.

In this meeting, Mr. Griffiths reiterated the humanitarian community’s commitment to deliver impartial and independent humanitarian assistance and protection to millions of people in need. He emphasized the critical role of women in the delivery of aid and called on all parties to ensure their rights, safety and well-being. He called for all civilians – especially women and girls and minorities – to be protected at all times. Mr. Griffiths expressed his solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.

The authorities pledged that the safety and security of humanitarian staff, and humanitarian access to people in need, will be guaranteed and that humanitarian workers – both men and women – will be guaranteed freedom of movement. The authorities committed to cooperate with the humanitarian community to ensure assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan. Continue reading

UN experts urge Afghanistan’s new rulers to prohibit torture ‘in any circumstances’

Experts serving on a UN human rights treaty body called for the new Taliban-led authorities of Afghanistan to uphold “the international obligations of the State”, particularly in complying with all provisions of the Convention against Torture, outlawing the practice “in any circumstances”.

The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) drew particular attention to the provisions of the Convention and of its Optional Protocol (OPCAT).

Noting that Afghanistan has entered into “a very challenging new chapter of power transition”, the SPT reminded in a statement that torture is “absolutely prohibited at all times and under all circumstances”.

Meanwhile, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists at a regular media briefing that the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) operated by the World Food Programme (WFP) is resuming its flights to enable 160 humanitarian organizations to continue their life-saving activities throughout the country’s provinces. More

Secretary-General’s statement on Afghanistan

On the day Afghanistan enters a new phase I want to express my grave concern at the deepening humanitarian and economic crisis in the country and the threat of basic services collapsing completely.

Today, almost half of the population of Afghanistan – 18 million people – need humanitarian assistance to survive. One in three Afghans do not know where their next meal will come from. More than half of all children under-five are expected to become acutely malnourished in the next year. People are losing access to basic goods and services every day. A humanitarian catastrophe looms.

Now more than ever, Afghan children, women and men need the support and solidarity of the international community. The humanitarian system’s commitment to stay and deliver will not waver. Already this year, we have delivered aid to eight million people. In the last fortnight we delivered food to 80,000 people and relief packages to thousands of displaced families. Yesterday we airlifted 12.5 metric tons of medical supplies into the country.

Amid a severe drought and with harsh winter conditions on the horizon, extra food, shelter and health supplies must be urgently fast-tracked into the country. I call on all parties to facilitate safe and unimpeded humanitarian access for life-saving and life-sustaining supplies, as well as for all humanitarian workers – men and women.

Next week, we will release details of the most immediate humanitarian needs and funding requirements over the next four months in a Flash Appeal for Afghanistan. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths is coordinating the entire UN system in the preparation of the appeal.

I urge all Member States to dig deep for the people of Afghanistan in their darkest hour of need. I urge them to provide timely, flexible and comprehensive funding. I urge them to help ensure humanitarian workers have the funding, access, and legal safeguards they need to stay and deliver.

New York

31 August 2021

Security Council urges Taliban to provide safe passage out of Afghanistan

The UN Security Council passed a resolution that calls for the Taliban to facilitate safe passage for people wanting to leave Afghanistan, allow humanitarians to access the country, and uphold human rights, including for women and children.

Thirteen of the 15 ambassadors voted in favour of the resolution, which further demands that Afghanistan not be used as a shelter for terrorism. Permanent members China and Russia abstained.

Countries condemned in the strongest terms the deadly blasts at Kabul airport on Thursday, which killed more than 150 people and injured upwards of 200 more.  The terrorist group Islamic State in Khorosan Province (ISKP) claimed responsibility.

The attack targeted people fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover two weeks ago, and international forces assisting the evacuations. More

Afghanistan: UN agencies sound alarm over emergency aid supply logjam

UN humanitarian agencies are warning that they are unable to bring urgently needed emergency supplies into Afghanistan, and are calling for a “humanitarian air bridge” to be set up immediately, to allow the unimpeded delivery of medicines and other aid supplies to the country.

In a media interview on Monday, Richard Brennan, the WHO Regional Director, explained that the agency is unable to bring some 500 tonnes of medical supplies, scheduled to be delivered this week, into the country, because of restrictions at Kabul airport, which is struggling to cope with a massive evacuation effort.

The World Food Programme said that its operations have been continuing throughout Afghanistan, including food distributions and drought assessments. This past week alone, WFP has reached 80,000 people with some 600 metric tonnes of food commodities that came across land borders.

At the noon briefing for UN correspondents, the UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, underlined the importance of women’s rights, amid widespread fears that the Taliban will bring in repressive policies. He pointed out that the UN’s humanitarian colleagues have stressed that women “must be able to work in order for Afghanistan to function, for their survival and so that they can provide for their families”. More

Afghanistan: UN agencies urge Taliban to make good on promises to protect vulnerable

Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of the Taliban takeover in the country where humanitarian needs remain critical and widespread among existing and newly displaced populations, UN agencies said on Tuesday.

Some 18 million people in the country need aid assistance and one in three children is expected to be severely malnourished this year, said UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF. Speaking via Zoom from the capital Kabul, the agency’s chief of field operations & emergencies, Mustapha Ben Messaoud, reported seeing hungry infants, some with terrible wounds after clashes between the country’s new rulers and Afghan Security Forces.

Isabelle Moussard Carlsen, Head of the UN Humanitarian Office (OCHA) in Afghanistan, told UN News that some 16 million people in the country are in need of aid.

Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov, United Nations DSRSG, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator on UN, released a statement on the UN’s aid response in Afghanistan .‘The United Nations in Afghanistan reiterate their commitment to stay and deliver aid to millions of people in need in the country. More

Note to Correspondents – on Afghanistan

The Secretary-General spoke today to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, his Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, to express his appreciation of Qatar’s efforts to promote dialogue between the Taliban and Afghan parties.

The Secretary-General hopes that these efforts will lead to an inclusive and peaceful transition.

New York

17 August 2021

Note to Correspondents – on Afghanistan

The Secretary-General is following with deep concern the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan. He urges the Taliban and all other parties to exercise utmost restraint in order to protect lives and ensure that humanitarian needs can be addressed.

Conflict is forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. There continue to be reports of serious human rights abuses and violations in the communities most affected by the fighting. The Secretary-General is particularly concerned about the future of women and girls, whose hard-won rights must be protected. All abuses must stop. He calls on the Taliban and all other parties to ensure that international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all people are respected and protected.

The need for assistance is surging while the operating environment becomes more restricted due to the escalation of the conflict. The Secretary-General calls on all parties to ensure that humanitarian actors have unimpeded access to deliver timely and life-saving services and assistance.

The United Nations remains determined to contribute to a peaceful settlement, promote the human rights of all Afghans, notably women and girls, and provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and critical support to civilians in need.

On Monday, the Secretary-General will address the Security Council’s open meeting on Afghanistan.