The United Nations Security Council meets about the situation in Syria at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

KABUL, Afghanistan – The UN Security Council held a session to discuss ongoing situation in Afghanistan, calling attention to the devastating earthquake, restrictions on Afghan women and girls, human rights issues, and other political crisis since the fall of republic government last August.

Earlier on Thursday, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced the UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will present its report on “the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security.”

Ramiz Alakbarov, UNAMA acting head, called for concerted international support for a swift humanitarian response to the devastating earthquake in Afghanistan that claimed over 1,000 lives and injured more than 1,500 others locals.

“Humanitarian actors mobilized an immediate response, dispatching ambulances, medical equipment, trauma kits, medicine, mobile health teams and emergency supplies including tents, blankets, plastic sheeting and food assistance,” he said, as TOLOnews quoted.

Addressing the ever-increasing restrictions against Afghan women and girls, Alakbarov said the de facto authorities have increasingly limited the exercise of basic human rights, such as freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of opinion and expression, quelling dissent and restricting civic space in the country.

“These include most prominently the ban on secondary schooling for girls and the decision to impose face covering on women, on which you have been briefed in detail by former Special Representative of the Secretary-General Deborah Lyons,” he added.

Despite the rumors and ongoing allegations of killings, ill-treatment and violations targeting individuals associated with the former government, Alakbarov said UNAMA will remain in Afghanistan to safeguard the rights of Afghans, including the rights of women and girls.

Meanwhile, an international correspondent Yalda Hakim – who also attended the Security Council Meeting talked about the restrictions against Afghan women under the Islamic Emirate rule, exclaiming it has been 279 days since the Taliban banned teenage girls from school.

“Afghanistan is now the only country in the world where girls are prevented from getting an education, locked out of their classrooms, simply because of their gender. Education is not a privilege, but a basic human right,” Yalda said.

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Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, via a teleconference pointed to the dramatic change in Afghanistan’s political and economic areas after the collapse, saying 25 million people in Afghanistan are now living in poverty — more than double from 2011.

“Today, the average household spends three quarters of its income on food,” he said, stressing that 19 million people — nearly half the population — are food insecure, including 6.6 million at emergency levels, the highest number of any country in the world.”

Afghanistan’s representative Naseer A. Faiq said earning legitimacy requires winning the minds and hearts of all Afghans, and Afghan people were hoping to see changes in the policies of the de facto authorities in the last 10 months.

“This has been far from realized,” he said, citing the Islamic Emirate inflexible attitude towards creating an accountable national government staffed by professional women and minorities.  

To prevent Afghanistan from becoming a pariah state, Faiq called for a national dialogue among all Afghans, organized and facilitated by the United Nations, including representatives of the Islamic Emirate and opposition groups.  

The United Kingdom representative at the UNSC hearing said the humanitarian and economic situation remains critical in Afghanistan. “Women and girls in Afghanistan are facing unacceptable restrictions on their freedom of movement and dress as well as access to education, jobs and services,” as local media reported.

Furthermore, the United States representative at the UNSC hearing said the Islamic Emirate must reverse its actions regarding women if they want a normalized relationship with the international community.

The Taliban government since the takeover last August has desperately been looking for formal recognition, but the world leaders – including international communities – has laid condition for such to happed: observing Afghans basic rights and stablishing an inclusive government are the two major conditions.

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