HRC 50 – EU Statement: Urgent Debate on Human Rights of Women and Girls in Afghanistan

(Source: EEAS)

Thank you Mr President.

I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania (1), Republic of Moldova, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Liechtenstein, members of the European Economic Area, and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

The EU thanks the speakers for their statements.

Allow me to begin by reiterating our deepest sympathies with the people of Afghanistan following last week’s devastating earthquake. The European Union stands in full solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and will continue to provide assistance to those in need.

Esteemed speakers,

The information you have provided proves how necessary and timely it was to ask that the Human Rights Council focus on the situation of the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.

With great concern, the EU has noticed that, since 15 August 2021, women and girls in Afghanistan have been suffering systematic violations of their rights, directly resulting from the wilful adoption of measures and policies by the Taliban, aiming at erasing them completely from all spheres of public life. Examples of this process are, among others: the recent measures requiring women and girls to wear the full veil in public along with new arbitrary punishments for family members to enforce compliance, which are particularly shocking and unacceptable. These measures as well as the recent announcement requiring women only to leave home when necessary are but examples of this process. The reports of abuse towards women human rights activists and women journalist are distressing.

The European Union has a long-term commitment to support the people of Afghanistan. Our action on empowerment of women and girls aims at building resilience and promoting the academic, economic and social empowerment of Afghan women and girls by enhancing their capabilities, employability and future prospects through education and training.

The EU wants to underline that the full, equal, effective and meaningful participation, inclusion, and empowerment of all women and girls in all spheres of life is essential for lasting peace and sustainable economic and social development. It is also a condition for the realization of all human rights of all persons in Afghanistan.

To achieve this, among other human rights, the right to education and justice for victims of sexual and gender-based violence are basic needs for women and girls.

All victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence must have access to justice and to an effective remedy and reparations.

Afghanistan must implement its commitments to ensure the enjoyment of all human rights of all women and girls, in accordance with the State’s obligations under international human rights law.

Mr President,

The Taliban stand at a crossroads. The risks of further instability and human suffering in Afghanistan can be mitigated if action is taken swiftly to address the violations and abuses suffered by women and girls in Afghanistan. But Afghanistan will only be in a position to overcome the challenges it is facing if it fully respects all human rights of all women and girls and allows their effective empowerment, as well as full, equal and meaningful participation in all spheres of life, including in decision making processes.

Thank you.


(1) North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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