Statement for Item 2: Interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteur on human rights situation in Afghanistan. Delivered by Human Rights Ambassador Rita French.

Rita French

Thank you, Mr President.

Let me start by thanking the Special Rapporteur for his longstanding and determined efforts to continue to shed light on the human rights situation in Afghanistan.

We have all watched in horror and sadness as the Taliban have continued their campaign of repression and violence against Afghan women and girls. The ongoing restrictions to the rights of women and girls across every sphere of their lives – in education, in health, in employment, and in freedom of movement – is deplorable. The impact on their wellbeing and livelihood is truly unimaginable. One recent outrage was the closure of beauty salons, severely impacting thousands of women, a number of whom were then punished for bravely protesting the decision.

This coincides with tens of millions of Afghans who are also now in need of humanitarian aid, including many women and children. The UK stands with the international community in helping the Afghan people.

Special Rapporteur,

The Taliban must respond to the needs of the Afghan people. Their call for “work, bread, justice” must be heard.

How can we best communicate our concerns to the Taliban in a way they will understand? How can we better support those who are standing up for human rights in Afghanistan?

Thank you.

Published 11 September 2023