An official website of the United States government

Statement at the HRC Special Session on Afghanistan
Delivered by Under Secretary Uzra Zeya
August 24, 2021

U.S. Statement at the Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the Serious Human Rights Concerns and Situation in Afghanistan

Delivered by:
Uzra Zeya
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Right
U.S. Department of State


The United States welcomes the Council’s urgent attention on the dire human rights situation in Afghanistan and thanks the OIC for its efforts.

The protection of civilians, including women and girls, academics, journalists, human rights defenders, and members of ethnic, religious, and other minority groups, must remain paramount. We condemn attacks on them and those seeking to aid them, including UN staff and humanitarian aid providers. Such attacks must stop immediately, and all Afghan nationals and foreign nationals who wish to depart must be allowed to do so safely

Hard-won advancements in respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms over the last twenty years – particularly for women and members of minority groups – must be maintained.

We call on all parties to allow safe, unhindered access for humanitarian personnel and agencies to provide life-saving assistance to the increasing number of Afghans in need.

A sustainable end to the conflict in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an inclusive, just, and durable political settlement that upholds the human rights of all Afghans.

Thank you.