Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

United Nations

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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36. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the role the United Nations can take to protect citizens and their rights in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55589/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Afghanistan faces multiple human rights, security and economic situation challenges, and a worsening humanitarian crisis. The UN is playing a vital role in all these areas.

The absence of many non-governmental organisations, civil society networks, and diplomatic missions from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of Kabul has made the role of the UN in monitoring developments inside Afghanistan, including on human rights, is particularly important. Representatives of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) have met with high-ranking members of the Taliban administration in recent weeks to highlight Afghanistan’s human rights obligations under international law. UNAMA personnel have also engaged with key contacts at regional level on human rights.

Upholding human rights and the protection of civilians within the maintenance of international peace and security are key priorities of Ireland’s Security Council term. Ireland has expressed its grave concerns at reports from Afghanistan on curtailments of human rights, at intimidation and violence against minorities, at repression of peaceful protests and self-censorship by Afghan journalists. We have also underlined that Afghan women and girls must be treated as equal citizens, with full and equal access to education, to healthcare, to freedom of movement and participation in public life.

The UN Human Rights Council met in special session last August and adopted a resolution on strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights in Afghanistan. During its October session, the EU led a resolution on the “Situation of human rights in Afghanistan” that establishes a mandate for a Special Rapporteur, to be appointed at the March 2022 session.In an oral updateduring the session, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, pledged her commitment to “continu(ing) to work to the full extent of our capacity to monitor the rights of the Afghan people and assist, wherever possible, in protecting and advancing those rights”.

In its engagement in all international fora, and especially the UN Security Council, Ireland will continue to prioritise the rights of Afghans and will work to ensure the fullest access by UNAMA to continue its critical monitoring and reporting from Afghanistan to ensure that human rights are protected and defended.

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