UN Human Rights Council 51: UK General Comment on Afghanistan

F.P. Report

GENEVA: The UK’s Human Rights Ambassador, Rita French, underlines the UK’s support for the Special Rapporteur’s work on Afghanistan at the UN Human Rights Council.

Thank you, Mr President,

Let me begin by expressing my heartfelt condolences to the victims of the horrific attack at the Kaaj Education Centre last week.

And let me thank the main sponsors of resolution L27 for presenting this important initiative to the Council. We welcome their constructive and transparent engagement during the negotiation process on what we believe is a balanced text.

This resolution seeks to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan for a further year. Looking back to the start of this session, we listened to courageous human rights defenders from Afghanistan in this very room. We heard testimonies from the women and girls who are being rendered invisible by the Taliban. And we heard from the Special Rapporteur himself, about this crucial mandate in giving a voice to those who remain in the country whilst their human rights are being stripped away.

That is why the UK strongly supports the continuation and strengthening of this mandate at a time when Afghans need it the most. Afghanistan still remains the only country in the world where girls cannot attend secondary school. Religious and ethnic minorities, particularly the Hazara people, LGBT+ persons and civil society activists are facing increased levels of violence and discrimination.

Mr President,

The UK has co-sponsored this draft resolution. We urge all members of the Council to join us in fully supporting the Special Rapporteur’s work and reject attempts to derail this much-needed mandate.