First, we would like to thank the every member State and very individual who supported and worked tirelessly to make today’s Urgent Debate possible – this debate is about Afghanistan women’s rights activists and defenders, about each school girl, female teachers, judges, and journalists, and women in general who bravely asking for their rights to be respected. Speaking to you today, we speak for them.
Reports coming out of Afghanistan clearly indicate that situation of human rights, particularly those of women and girls in Afghanistan today is worse than anywhere else in the world. Standing in solidarity with the women and girls who do not have the opportunity to raise their voice to hope for better future is the job of this Council and a measure of its credibility.
When we were struggling to make this debate possible, I was wondering that if not now when will be the time to stand for the very basic human rights of women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Today the contrast cannot be more daunting. This every moment that we speak here at the august council, in Kabul the Taliban have called a gathering of 3000 of their members ‘all men and all Talib’ and have assigned another 12000 armed men to guard this gathering. No independent media, no voice of descent and no women. Tomorrow they will issue an edict and will ask for international recognitions, more humanitarian and economic assistance and release of our central banks reserves. Taliban are under the view that the international community has forgotten the people of Afghanistan and their own principles, as they openly and insidiously disregards every obligation, commitment, and promise to uphold the human rights of women and girls.
For the majority of the people of Afghanistan, this situation is not normal, Afghanistan is country of rich culture and diversity. It was and remains a meeting point and microcosm all regional civilizations. The current temporary situation is an affront to our values, customs and the teaching of the holy religion of Islam— that 1.5 billion women and men, minutes few 1000s Taliban and their foreign sympathizers, know and believe. It is not normal or practiced in the majority Muslim states from Morocco to Indonesia, it is certainly not normal under international human rights law. So the marginal attempts to normalize is both impertinent and futile.
The women and girls of Afghanistan have shown us the meaning of courage - they refuse to allow fear to dictate their actions. They have displayed the meaning of strength - they keep going in the face of oppression. They have demonstrated the meaning of hope - they maintain the conviction that better days will come.
Until now, these women and girls have felt that their voices have gone unheard - not only in the country but beyond it, and that their calls to action were met with mere condemnation.
What we are witnessing is just the beginning. The Taliban will stop at nothing in their ruthless drive for control - to which equality, empowerment, and education present the most serious threat.
Systematic violations of the rights of women and girls in one corner of the world is an affront to the entire international community. Let us recall- recognition requires territory, population, government and above all- respect for human rights.
In a country with no National Independent Human Rights Commission, where UNAMA cannot operate as before, where the work of NGOs is severely restricted, where visits by mandate-holders and the OHCHR are limited, meaningful monitoring of human rights on the ground has become impossible.
The situation of women and girls in Afghanistan demands nothing less than a robust monitoring mechanism to collect, consolidate, and analyse evidence of violations, to document and verify information, to identify those responsible to promote accountability and remedies for victims, and to make recommendations for effective prevention of further violations.
We look forward to hearing from women’s rights defenders who will share their vision with the Council, and from States, international organizations, and civil society who have come together to generate an effective response to what can only be called a human rights crisis for women and girls in Afghanistan.
As long as girls and women are valued less, not schooled, and subjected to violence, discrimination, and erasure from public life, the potential to create a peaceful, prosperous Afghanistan, where human rights are promoted and protected, will not be realized.
Mr. President, I thank you