Statement at the 54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Interactive Debate on OHCHR report on Afghanistan
Delivered by Horia Mosadiq, Safety and Risk Mitigation Organization (SRMO)
Thank you Mr. President,
CIVICUS and SRMO welcomes this new report on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and express our grave concern that more than two years after the Taliban takeover, there has been a failure by the international community to ensure serious and sustained attention to stem the systematic assault on civic space in the country.
In March, Afghanistan’s civic space rating was downgraded by the CIVICUS Monitor from ‘repressed’ to ‘closed’. Over the last year, activists, especially women human rights defenders and journalists have continued to face arbitrary arrests, detention and ill-treatment by the Taliban. Education rights activist Matiullah Wesa and reporter Mortaza Behboudi remain in detention. NGOs have also faced asset seizure and licence suspensions because they were led by women or had women employees.
It has become increasing difficult to hold protests in Afghanistan due to harassment, arrests and ill-treatment. Despite this, scores of brave women demonstrated in July, their bravery was met with gunfire, water cannons and beatings.
The international community must speak up and urge the de facto authorities to respect fundamental freedoms and to reverse their ban on women working and from education.
Proactive steps must be taken to provide support and protection to human rights defenders at risk, including those in exile.
We also urge the Council to do more to hold the Taliban accountable for their abuses and discriminatory policies, gender apartheid and expedite discussions towards a more robust international accountability mechanism.
We thank you.