Special Session of the Human Rights Council, Human Rights Situation in Afghanistan

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by New Zealand’s Permanent Representative Lucy Duncan, 24 August 2021.

Madame President,

New Zealand welcomes this Special Session of the Human Rights Council. We share the international community’s deep concerns about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and its impact on human rights.

The situation is now highly uncertain, fragile and rapidly changing. We urgently call on all parties to abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, and to respect and facilitate the safe departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country.

New Zealand is deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, and their right to education, work and freedom of movement. We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee and protect these rights.

New Zealand is also concerned about the protection of civil and political rights. Military interference does not have a place in democratic processes or governance, and New Zealand takes this opportunity to reaffirm that rights such as freedom of expression and the right to peaceful demonstration must be protected.

As announced recently, New Zealand is providing $3 million in humanitarian assistance to the International Committee for the Red Cross and the UN Refugee Agency in Afghanistan.

This will go towards protection services for the Afghan people, including Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries, and provide them with essential services. 

The need for humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan is clear. We call on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, protect aid workers and civilians from harm, and support the right to freedom of movement.

Thank-you, Madame President


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