International Human Rights Day celebrates principle of equality, UNAMA calls on Taliban to support equal rights of all Afghans

10 Dec 2021

International Human Rights Day celebrates principle of equality, UNAMA calls on Taliban to support equal rights of all Afghans

KABUL - Marking International Human Rights Day, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) underscores the significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its real importance for Afghanistan, calling upon the Taliban to demonstrate their support for the rights of every Afghan.

The theme of this years’ global Human Rights Day centres on “Equality.” Article 1 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

“The principles of equality and non-discrimination are paramount for the enjoyment of human rights by all. We call upon the Taliban to make this principle a day-to-day reality in Afghanistan,” said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

At the heart of human rights lie the principles of equality and non-discrimination. Equality has the power to help break cycles of poverty; it gives young people the same opportunities across the country; it helps in advancing a healthy environment; it tackles the root causes of conflict and crises.

Commitments made by the Taliban to protect the rights of all Afghans have yet to be met. Women and girls in particular have witnessed an erosion of their rights since 15 August 2021. Significant efforts are required by the Taliban to actively promote and protect the equal rights of girls and women, in access to education, work, free movement and other aspects of life.

The UN is also deeply concerned by credible reports in recent months of killings, the use of violence against and forced disappearances of former members of the Afghan security services, government and civil society, including protestors, media workers, human rights defenders and minorities. UNAMA urges the Taliban to investigate and make public their findings on these matters, as well as to demonstrate a commitment to upholding the rights of all Afghans by taking all possible measures to prevent the commission of such crimes.

The United Nations also encourages the fulfilment of Afghanistan’s international human rights obligations as set out in the UN core international human rights treaties, laying the foundations for the universality of equality, justice and human dignity for all. Societies that protect and promote human rights for everyone, particularly those most vulnerable, such as religious and minority groups, internally displaced persons, as well as persons with disabilities, are more resilient and sustainable. They are better equipped to manage crises.

The UN has noted statements and commitments from senior Taliban representatives on the protection of human rights for all Afghans, without discrimination, at both the national and provincial level. The UN maintains its readiness to engage in meaningful dialogue in this and other areas and looks forward to seeing the fulfilment of these promises. This includes pledges to cooperate with human rights organisations, and to meaningfully address concerns raised to do more to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.