Guterres urges Taliban to show restraint as UNSC set to meet today

Web DeskWeb Editor

16th Aug, 2021. 04:33 pm
UN Secretary General

As the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged the group and all other parties “to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and ensure that humanitarian can be addressed.”

A statement issued to the UN press corps said that Guterres is following with deep concern the rapid turn of the events in Afghanistan which is forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

There continue to be reports of serious human rights abuses and violations in the communities most affected by the fighting, the statement said.

The Secretary-General is particularly concerned about the future of women and girls, whose hard-won rights must be protected, the statement continued, stressing that “all abuses must stop.

He called on the Taliban and all other parties to ensure that international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all people are respected and protected.

The statement goes on to say that the need for assistance is surging while the operating environment becomes more restricted due to the escalation of the conflict.

“As such, Guterres is calling on all parties to ensure that humanitarian actors have unimpeded access to deliver timely and life-saving services and assistance.”

“The United Nations remains determined to contribute to a peaceful settlement, promote the human rights of all Afghans, notably women and girls, and provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and critical support to civilians in need,” the statement added.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday, the Secretary-General stressed that there was still potential for stalled intra-Afghan talks taking place in Doha, Qatar, supported by the region and the wider international community, which could lead to a negotiated settlement.

The Secretary-General is set to address a meeting of the UN Security Council’s on Afghanistan today.

Since Saturday, an additional 2,000 people were verified to be in need humanitarian assistance.

Noting that humanitarian partners have so far provided food, cash, household items, health and water and sanitation assistance to more than 13,500 IDPs, while more assistance is on the way, the UN relief wing, known as OCHA, said however that “inter-agency assessment teams did not operate on the afternoon of 15 August, due to uncertainty of the situation in Kabul.

The UN has maintained an extensive aid operation since the early days of the American-led occupation two decades ago. Secretary General Guterres, who had repeatedly condemned attacks on Afghan civilians and implored the Taliban and government representatives to negotiate a peaceful settlement, was expected to speak at the emergency meeting.

The United Nations has roughly 3,000 employees who are Afghan and about 720 international staff members in Afghanistan, but roughly half of the international staff have been working outside the country since the pandemic started last year.

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