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United Nations

Joint Statement on Afghanistan by the Geneva Group of Friends on the Safety of Journalists in the Item 2 General Debate, 14 September 2021

Thank you Madame President,

I deliver this statement on behalf of members* of the Geneva Group of Friends on the Safety of Journalists.

Our group expresses its deep concern over the desperate situation of journalists and media workers in Afghanistan over the last few weeks.

The Afghan people deserve to live in dignity, peace and security, reflecting the last two decades of their political, economic and social achievements. We are dismayed by credible reports of targeted killings of journalists, media workers and their family members, home raids, arbitrary detentions, threats, disappearances, intimidation and violence.

We also share the concern expressed by various special procedures of the HRC with regard to the specific threats and systematic human rights violations and abuses faced by female journalists in Afghanistan, thus jeopardizing the progress made so far in women's rights over the last 20 years. According to recent information by Reporters without Borders, fewer than 100 of Kabul's 700 female journalists are still able to exercise their work. Others have been attacked and harassed. Female journalists in Afghanistan are being forced out of their job and told to stay at home despite promises by the Taliban to allow them to keep working and to respect press freedom.

Our group strongly condemns this increasing level of intimidation and violence that journalists, media workers and other individuals engaged in informing the public endure in Afghanistan. Journalists must be free to report in full safety, without fear of violence, reprisals or intimidation. Moreover, journalists who justifiably fear for their security and wish to leave Afghanistan must be allowed to do so.

We urge all actors in Afghanistan to protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including for members of the media, and to adhere to Afghanistan's international obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Those who have committed acts of violence and violation of international human rights law against journalists and media workers must be held accountable.

The Geneva Group of Friends on the Safety of Journalists will continue to closely monitor the situation of journalists and media freedom in Afghanistan.

I thank you.

* Argentina, Austria, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, France, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, United Kingdom

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