Urgent Debate on Afghanistan
Delegation of the United States of America
Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
Human Rights Council – 50th Session
July 1, 2022
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States stands with and has great compassion for the Afghan people, whose relentless suffering continues following last week’s devastating earthquake. We continue to provide robust humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.
The United States greatly appreciates The High Commissioner, her office, and civil society for their roles working to strengthen human rights in Afghanistan.
We are alarmed by widespread human rights abuses in Afghanistan as reported by the High Commissioner, UNAMA, the Special Rapporteur, and civil society organizations. We are particularly disturbed by the extensive restrictions on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Afghan women and girls in all their diversity, including access to education, as well as restrictions on the media.
We are also gravely concerned by reports of attacks against ethnic and religious minority communities; civilians in Panjshir, Andarab, and other regions; human rights defenders; and LGBTQI+ persons. Of particular concern is the continued, longstanding oppression of the Shia religious minority by violent extremists; we call for the implementation of measures to ensure their protection.
In reference to the critically important situation of Afghan women and girls, if the Taliban intentionally limit the enjoyment of human rights of half of Afghanistan’s population or prevent their participation in discussions on the country’s future, they will not be viewed by most Afghans as just or legitimate leaders nor will they earn the respect they desire from the rest of the world.
The international community, including several Muslim-majority countries and entities, is unified in forcefully rejecting these restrictions and making clear that each new restriction placed on women and members of minority groups moves the Taliban further away from the normalization of relations with the international community they crave and the domestic legitimacy they need.
Afghans across the country have voiced their opposition to these restrictions. The international community has, clearly and repeatedly, said we expect the Taliban to respect the human rights of all Afghans, promote accountability, and immediately roll back these draconian practices. We call on the Taliban again now to uphold their promises.
I thank you.