Afghanistan

Joint press statement on Afghanistan by Security Council penholders Norway and Estonia, 17 September 2021

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It is my pleasure to inform you that the Security Council has just unanimously decided to extend the mandate of UNAMA in Afghanistan for 6 months, until mid-March next year.

This means that UNAMA will maintain its current broad and flexible mandate, which includes: human rights, ‘Women, Peace and Security’, and humanitarian assistance.

As the situation Afghanistan remains unpredictable. The members of the Security Council have agreed to use the next half year to assess how UNAMA best can support the people of Afghanistan going forward.

In my national capacity, I would like to add that Norway has consistently engaged with the Taliban and various parties throughout the past decades, including on women’s rights. We have recently evacuated a number of women peacebuilders, human rights defenders, and journalists, to Norway, where they can safely continue their work. We will continue to support the work of women peacebuilders and human rights defenders both in and outside of Afghanistan. In our talks with the Taliban, we will remain steadfast on women’s rights and inclusion.

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We would like to underline what this adoption enforces: the unanimous position of the Security Council to support the Afghan people through a continued presence of the United Nations on the ground.

We have also reiterated our expectations for a new government in Afghanistan that would be inclusive and representative, and would uphold human rights, including for women, children and minorities.

As penholders, Estonia and Norway will continue to support and strengthen the voices of women peacebuilders and human rights defenders in Afghanistan. Afghan women are pillars of society and must play an essential role in building sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Finally, and as you know, the people in Afghanistan are affected by a growing humanitarian crisis. Half the population is in urgent need of aid. We applaud the international community’s commitment this Monday, to scale-up humanitarian funding, but it is also critical to ensure that humanitarian assistance, in particular women humanitarian workers, will have safe and unhindered access throughout the country.