U.S. Deputy Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
February 3, 2023
Thank you Chair.
I am delivering this statement on behalf of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and my own country, the United States of America.
On the question of the one-year extension of the UNFPA country program document for Afghanistan, we would like to express our support for the extension so that the agency can continue to assist the Afghan people to meet their humanitarian and basic needs.
That said, we condemn in the strongest terms recent Taliban decisions to ban Afghan girls and women from education and to restrict their employment and movement. We join the international community and the UN in calling on the Taliban to reverse these discriminatory and counter-productive policies that interfere with the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Taliban’s decisions have already prevented the delivery of crucial aid during what has been a period of freezing temperatures and economic hardship. We will continue to support the essential inclusion of female staff in the full cycle of aid delivery in Afghanistan and full, safe, and unhindered access to the most vulnerable populations – including women and girls. We ask that aid delivery in this current context seriously consider heightened risks, such as risks for sexual exploitation and abuse, among others.
We recognize the UN and many of its agencies are doing critically important work in Afghanistan under extra-ordinary circumstances. We appreciate the dedication, commitment, and service of those frontline workers who provide assistance, promote human rights, and build a better Afghanistan each day.
Finally, we stand with the Afghan people during these difficult times.