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50th Session of the Human Rights Council

National Statement during the Urgent debate on the Situation of Human Rights for Women and Girls in Afghanistan, 1 July 2022

The future of Afghan women and girls is at a critical crossroads with the Taliban’s unparalleled oppression and misogyny risking 20 years of gains and rendering over 50per cent of the Afghan population invisible.    

The institutionalised, systematic oppression of women described by the High Commissioner in her oral update must be addressed to fulfill the human rights of Afghan women and girls. This includes removing barriers to employment, especially for female aid workers; removing restrictions on women’s participation in public and political life and their freedom of movement; and addressing the exclusion of girls from secondary education.

We greatly appreciate the valuable contribution of women human rights defenders in advocating for Afghan women and girls’ full, equal and meaningful participation in civic life. They do this despite the significant challenges and threats of violence they face. These courageous women cannot be silenced, and we remain steadfast in amplifying their voices to ensure their concerns are heard.

Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by conflict, insecurity, and disasters. Following the 22 June earthquake, Australia will provide emergency relief of AUD1million, on top of our AUD140 million humanitarian commitment to support the people of Afghanistan. Our support will be delivered through UN agencies already operating in the affected area.

It is crucial not to interfere with the delivery of humanitarian assistance to intended beneficiaries and to ensure that all Afghans have access to basic health services, food and shelter.

We demand the Taliban honour its commitments and call on the international community to ensure accountability by bringing perpetrators of crimes involving abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law to justice.

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