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Sessions of UNHRC

49th Session UNHRC: Intervention by Ms. Celine Burke (Research Analyst EFSAS)

24-03-2021, Geneva (Virtual)

Text and video of Ms. Celine Burke's Intervention on General Debate Item 5 (Human rights bodies and mechanisms) during the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Video of Ms. Celine Burke's Intervention on General Debate Item 5 during the 49th Session of the UNHRC


"Mr. President,

The spotlight has faded, but Afghanistan remains in crisis. After the West’s failure to fulfill women’s right to participate in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, the noose around the heads of Afghan women and girls tightens with each passing day.

Women’s right to freedom of movement has been dismantled, their right to education, work and health has been disregarded. Women human rights defenders have been abducted and killed.

Mr. President,

The Taliban's animosity towards women has clearly not abated. I urge this Council to hold the Taliban accountable for their grave human rights violations in Afghanistan. If rhetorical commitments are not followed by practical implementation, this inaction will be interpreted as hypocrisy by courageous Afghan human rights defenders.

Seven months after the Taliban-takeover, designated terrorists fly to Oslo for peace talks while women in Kabul look down the barrel of a gun while protesting for their freedom and the future of Afghanistan.

Behind words and rhetoric, it is the responsibility of this Council to honor the commitments made under the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda. Women’s rights have to be at the center of all deliberations on Afghanistan and women’s meaningful participation in all negotiations and decision-making processes must be ensured.

The international community cannot afford to disregard the role of women in defending and building peace any longer. For a long time, Afghan women peacebuilders have loudly proclaimed what is happening in the country. It is time to finally listen to them.

Thank you"


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