On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council in New York approved a draft resolution that would establish a group of independent experts to evaluate the international strategy regarding Afghanistan and create a “coherent and integrated approach” to the problems that the country faces.
The United Arab Emirates and Japan, the two penholders on the Afghan file at the Security Council, drafted Resolution 2679.
Another resolution authored by the two countries extends the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan by one more year, to March 17, 2024.
Each of the two proposals passed with 100% support.
Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE’s permanent representative to the UN, told Arab News after the vote that “there is an extraordinary set of circumstances in Afghanistan today, and we needed an extraordinary response from the council. My sincere desire is that this resolution helps further that cause.
Penholders, those tasked with monitoring the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan through the drafting of resolutions, the calling of emergency meetings, and the planning of mission visits, have argued for a unified international political strategy, saying that business as usual won’t produce any results.
Upholding human rights, including those of women, children, minorities, and people in vulnerable situations, is emphasized throughout the resolution.
There is concern voiced over the Taliban’s failure to meet the Security Council’s benchmarks for improvement.
Consultations with “all relevant Afghan political actors and stakeholders,” including relevant authorities, Afghan women, and civil society, as well as the region and the wider international community, are called for in the text, and the secretary-general is tasked with delivering an independent assessment to the council by November 17 of this year.
“in order to address the current challenges faced by Afghanistan, including in relation to human rights, the rights of women and girls, religious and ethnic minorities, economic and social challenges, dialogue, governance, and the rule of law; and to advance the objective of a secure, stable, and peaceful Afghanistan,” the assessment must include recommendations for a “integrated and coherent approach” among relevant political, humanitarian, and development actors within and outside the UN system.
Afterwards, Nusseibeh addressed the council and said, “in requesting this assessment, the Security Council is not only demonstrating its deep concern with the alarming trajectory in Afghanistan, but also choosing to do something about it.”
She went on to say that the status quo that helped bring about the worst women’s rights crisis in the world is likely to persist unless there is a sustained and coordinated international effort to change it.
If we’ve proven today that we all want the same thing for Afghanistan, then we should all be pulling in the same direction and working together to make that happen.
Nusseibeh stated, “The scale of the crisis demands a departure from business as usual,” and that “the work truly begins now.”
Ishikane Kimihiro, Japan’s permanent representative to the UN, expressed his country’s delight at the resolutions’ unanimous passage and said that the council’s backing of the UN assistance mission was timely given the “enormous challenges confronting Afghanistan and its people,” such as the country’s “dire humanitarian and economic situation,” the “persistent threat of terrorism,” and, most importantly, the “depreciation of opportunities for women and girls in education and employment.”
When asked about the council’s decision to unanimously extend the UNAMA’s mandate, Nusseibeh said it sends a “strong and unified message: Afghanistan, and particularly its women and girls, will not be abandoned.”
After 20 years of war, the United States and NATO finally pulled out of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, and the Taliban quickly moved in to seize control of the capital, Kabul. Since then, they’ve issued a string of decrees that severely limit the rights of women and girls, such as prohibiting them from working in humanitarian organizations and restricting their access to education beyond the sixth grade.
The international community has made numerous unsuccessful attempts to convince the Taliban to lift their bans.
Amina Mohammed, the United Nations’ deputy secretary-general, led an effort earlier this year after visiting Afghanistan, telling Arab News, “it is important to maximize whatever leverage available to steer the Taliban toward the universal principles that underpin participation in the international community.”
Mohammed had called on all countries “to unite in their efforts to put pressure on the Taliban to modernize and move from the 13th century to the 21st.”