Statement by DPR Andre Lipand at UN Security Council briefing on the situation in Afghanistan

Thank you Special Representative Lyons for your briefing. It is evident that the situation is more dire, and the role of the UN and UNAMA more necessary than ever before in Afghanistan. The importance of UNAMA in coordinating humanitarian aid delivery and relations with authorities, monitoring and reporting on the situation of security and rights, assisting on governance and rule of law cannot be understated.

Mr. President,

There have been a number of different meetings concerning Afghanistan recently, in different locations and formats, including the extended troika last week.          But the main messages at all of these have all been similar and could be summed up as: we call on Taliban to fulfil its promises, to live up to its public statements.

First and foremost this means the formation of an inclusive and representative government. The make-up of the current administration is being viewed with great disappointment. Ignoring the diversity of the peoples of Afghanistan and excluding women are clear decisions that go against the expectations of the international community and also fuel concerns over continued future instability in the country.

Estonia emphasizes here again that sustainable peace in Afghanistan can only be ensured by respecting and upholding international norms and standards, and constitutional protections, for the rights of all persons in Afghanistan, particularly women, girls and persons belonging to minorities. By excluding women from employment, public life and restricting their mobility, by undermining women’s right to full,equal and meaningful participation in decision-making and all other aspects of Afghan society as well as their access to justice, Afghanistan will not enjoy development or prosperity. Without the participation and support of women, Afghanistan will not be able to provide all its children with an education, or ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance to everyone in need.

Humanitarian aid is in great need right now in Afghanistan. Estonia and all other European Union members together pledged almost 800 million dollars for humanitarian assistance as part of the Flash Appeal in September. It is positive to see that aid has started moving into Afghanistan through a number of different channels. But to reach those in need, all parties have to allow immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for United Nations humanitarian agencies and other actors to provide assistance, including for women aid workers to deliver aid, for women healthcare workers to provide medical care and women teachers to educate students. We welcome the rapid establishment of the UNDP special trust fund for Afghanistan and encourage further measures that would assist in strengthening its economy and liquidity.

Mr. President,

Estonia remains committed to help the people of Afghanistan. However, our cooperation with any Afghanistan leadership will be based upon its willingness to uphold the positive achievements of recent decades and act by the norms and standards of international law, including international human rights law. We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protestors and journalists, for whom Afghanistan continues to be one of the top most dangerous places in the world to work in, despite a general improvement in the security situation in the country. We further condemn the recent terrorist attacks, which have multiplied across the country and recall the expectation that the territory of Afghanistan would not be used as for terrorist activity against any country.

I would end with a special “Thank You” to the staff of UNAMA and the broader UN in Afghanistan, whose efforts in delivering aid and stability for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan have been vital during this time of crisis.

Thank You.