New York City, 21 June 2023 (TDI): In a recent address, the representative of the United Kingdom at the United Nations Security Council expressed concern and reaffirmed the commitment to the people of Afghanistan, acknowledging the dire humanitarian situation and the urgent need to address the rights of women and girls in the country.

The representative highlighted the significance of the reports presented by SRSG Otunbayeva and Shabana Basij-Rasikh, which shed light on the potential of girls’ education as a catalyst for Afghanistan’s progress.

Since the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021, Afghanistan has faced severe humanitarian suffering, economic decline, and widespread violations of human rights.

The representative emphasized that two-thirds of the Afghan population, approximately 25 million people, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

The country’s economic output has plummeted by over 20 percent since the Taliban assumed power. Disturbingly, more than two million girls between the ages of seven and 11 are unable to access secondary education.

The representative further highlighted the impact of over 50 decrees issued by the Taliban, which restrict the rights of women and girls and hinder the delivery of essential humanitarian aid by the United Nations. The prevailing trajectory remains negative, leaving limited options for progress.

However, the representative reiterated the collective focus on the Afghan people and the need to navigate the challenging months ahead.

To address the crisis, the international community stands firm in its commitment to supporting Afghans. The representative expressed support for United Nations-led efforts to provide assistance, acknowledging the challenging context and emphasizing the principle that aid should prioritize women.

The United Kingdom, for example, has contributed over half a billion dollars since April 2021 to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The representative urged other member states to increase funding, given that the UN’s revised Humanitarian Appeal for Afghanistan for 2023, totaling $3.2 billion, is currently only 14 percent funded, according to OCHA’s tracker.

Moreover, the representative stressed the importance of maintaining unity in conveying expectations to the Taliban.

Consecutive Security Council resolutions have outlined clear expectations regarding humanitarian access, severing ties with terrorists, and upholding human rights and inclusive governance. In April, a resolution condemning restrictions on women’s and girls’ rights was unanimously adopted.

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Lastly, the representative underscored that clear expectation should be met with appropriate consequences. As long as the Taliban continues along its current path, international recognition, sanctions relief, and development assistance will not be considered.

The representative acknowledged the necessity of continued engagement, contingent upon adherence to these fundamental principles.

The representative emphasized that true stability and sustainable peace in Afghanistan can only be achieved when all segments of society and ethnic groups are included in the nation-building process.

The international community remains committed to supporting the Afghan people, providing crucial assistance, and holding the Taliban accountable for their actions. Through concerted efforts and a focus on inclusivity, there is hope for Afghanistan to overcome its current challenges and strive toward a brighter future.