Joint Statement on Women and Girls in Afghanistan at the Human Rights Council
Presented by Australia and Spain
on behalf of 58 countries including the United States
Statement as delivered by the Delegation of Australia
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Spain, my own country Australia, and a group of countries.
We are deeply concerned by reports of significant violations and abuses of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, including threats to their safety and barriers to their rights to education, work and full participation in civic life. We are committed to preserving and building on the political, economic and social achievements of the Afghan people.
We reiterate that without women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in civic and economic life, women do not have the opportunity to freely express and represent their own interests, enjoy the security of generating livelihoods, or contribute to the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan.
Girls’ education and women’s economic participation leads to better living standards for all. We are deeply concerned that women have been increasingly and systematically excluded from public life in Afghanistan, with reports of job losses, restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, including through arbitrary detentions, restrictions on political participation and lack of access to essential services. We support the right to freedom of opinion and expression as exercised by peaceful demonstrators during recent women’s rights protests in Afghanistan.
The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is marked by gender-specific restrictions which must be addressed. Easing the humanitarian crisis requires that women have the agency to partake equally in all aspects of the response, and that girls are free to continue their education as the schooling year begins this month.
Women’s empowerment and girls’ education benefits all Afghans without distinction.
Afghan women have demonstrated they are active and tireless agents of change and are crucial in shaping the future of their country. We must stand by our commitments to support Afghan women to participate fully, equally and meaningfully at all levels of decision-making, as acknowledged by HRC resolution 45/28, Special Session resolution 31/1 and HRC resolution 48/1.
Afghan women and girls deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We remain steadfast in amplifying their voices to ensure their concerns are heard.
HRC49 – Afghanistan Joint Statement – List of Co-Signatories as at 7 March, 1.00 pm
5. Czech Republic
8. Bosnia and Herzegovina
30. North Macedonia
32. New Zealand
45. Republic of Korea
47. Costa Rica