Doha [Qatar], May 3: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has stressed that the situation in Afghanistan was difficult, describing it as "the largest humanitarian crisis in the world."
The UN chief was speaking at a press conference in Doha and said that 97 percent of Afghans live in poverty and that two-thirds of the population will need humanitarian assistance this year to survive.
He also highlighted that six million Afghan children, women, and men are one step away from famine-like conditions.
"Our Humanitarian Response Plan, seeking $6 billion, has received a mere $294 million 6.4 per cent of the total funding required. But funding is not the only concern. The vast majority of our personnel providing vital assistance are Afghan nationals. And many are women aid workers. The current ban on Afghan women working for the United Nations and national and international NGOs is unacceptable and puts lives in jeopardy. Let me be crystal clear: we will never be silent in the face of unprecedented, systemic attacks on women and girls rights. We will always speak out when millions of women and girls are being silenced and erased from sight. This is a grave violation of fundamental human rights," he said.
The UN chief added, "It also violates Afghanistan's obligations under international law, namely, human rights law, and infringes on the principle of non-discrimination, which is a core tenet underpinning the United Nations Charter. And it deliberately undermines the development of a country that desperately needs the contributions of all, in order to achieve sustainable peace and contribute to regional stability.
He warned that the lives of millions of Afghans are at risk, and the United Nations will not back down from its commitments to support the Afghan people, noting that in the past decades it promised and implemented, and it is determined to seek appropriate conditions to continue its efforts. He noted that he came to hold a meeting with of Special Envoys on Afghanistan for a frank and constructive exchange of views, and noted that the Security Council resolution 2681 of April 27 called for full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and girls in Afghanistan.
He added that the meeting was about developing a common international approach, not about recognition of the de facto Taliban authorities.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations said that the participants are concerned about the stability of Afghanistan, and they have expressed a number of concerns that they have, including the issue of the presence of armed elements and the danger that this poses to the country, the region and the world, as well as the issue of the lack of inclusivity with its undermining of human rights, especially women and girls, in addition to the spread of the drug trafficking with its tragic consequences.
"While different countries placed different priorities on these concerns, according to their own situation, there is a general recognition that they are intertwined. That prioritizing one issue was not to ignore the importance of the others, which allows for an overall shared approach. To achieve our objectives, we cannot disengage. Many called for engagement to be more effective and based on lessons which we have learned from the past. The UN will continue to use its convening power to advance a forward leaning approach, which puts the Afghan people first, and in a manner that is complementary to existing regional platforms and initiatives," he concluded.
Source: Qatar Tribune