Statement delivered by Minister for Equal Opportunities, Prof. Elena Bonetti, at the High-level Event on”Upholding Women’s Rights in Afghanistan: An Urgent Moment for UNAMA Renewal”—
First of all, let me thank Horia, Fatima, Najila, Yalda for your briefing and your courage and let me express Italy’s solidarity for you and for all women and girls in Afghanistan.
The upcoming mandate renewal of UNAMA is a defining moment to reiterate the strong support of the international community for women and girls in Afghanistan and to reaffirm our lasting commitment to preserve their rights and their fundamental freedoms.
Such commitment guided the Italian action since the very beginning, in the days that immediately followed the Taliban takeover. On 26th August 2021, Italy organized the first G20 Conference on Women’s empowerment in Santa Margherita Ligure. On that occasion, I strongly supported the idea of organizing a ministerial meeting on the condition of women in Afghanistan, which was then held in the margins of the UNGA High Level Ministerial Week.
The current situation in Afghanistan is deeply concerning for women and girls, as the enjoyment of their rights rapidly deteriorated since the Taliban seized power, in sharp contrast with the results that had been achieved over the past twenty years.
In light of the current deteriorated context, it is essential that the Security Council provide the UN political mission with a robust mandate to monitor and report on the human rights situation, especially when it comes to women and girls’ rights. Besides monitoring and reporting human rights violations, the UNAMA must also be empowered with ensuring the prevention and elimination of gender-based violence. It should also be entrusted with advising on the implementation of the main conventions to which Afghanistan is a state party, and thus to which Afghanistan is bound, in particular the CEDAW.
Italy is in favor of retaining a strong human rights presence within UNAMA and supports the recommendations contained in the latest report of the Secretary-General when it comes to the Human Rights Service.
A robust human rights mandate for UNAMA along with the welcome appointment last October of a Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan will ensure an impartial UN oversight of the human rights situation on the ground while at the same time marking a critical step towards accountability.
Italy stands by the courageous women and girls of Afghanistan, who deserve to live in safety, security and dignity, to be empowered and to be active actors of change and reiterates that any form of violence against them should never be tolerated. We cannot fail them, so we call upon all the Members of the Security Council not to fail them either.
Now more than ever it is necessary to ensure that the rights of women and girls are guaranteed, to prosecute the offenders responsible for the violations of their rights, and to prevent any action threatening women and girls.
I thank you.