Afghanistan : we must redouble our efforts to protect civilians [fr]
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 26 July 2019
At the outset, allow me to offer my condolences to the families of the victims of the attacks in Kabul yesterday. The Afghan civilian population has once again been challenged by tragic circumstances.I thank Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed for her briefing and especially for her visit to Afghanistan last week, which sent a strong message on the participation and protection of women. I would also like to thank Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo for her briefing and Ms. Jamila Afghani for her commitment to the inclusion of women in Afghan politics.Finally, I thank Peru, Germany and Indonesia for taking the initiative to organize today’s meeting. Equality between women and men and the participation of women are a priority in French diplomacy, as championed by President Macron in Europe, within the Group of Seven and at the United Nations. We are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this issue today.
Today I will make two main observations.
1/ First, with respect to the issue of the protection of women. They remain, as the last 24 hours have once again highlighted, the first victims of the conflict. We must not lose sight of the fact that women continue to be subjected to the worst forms of violence, particularly in Taliban-controlled areas. France reiterates its full support for Afghanistan and the Government’s ongoing efforts aimed at protecting Afghan women from violence, including sexual violence.We especially welcome the commitments undertaken to fully implementing the women and peace and security action plan and call on Afghanistan, with the support of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the international community, to pursue this objective. We recall the importance of the European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative in strengthening the fight against violence against women and thereby in promoting the empowerment of women and equality between women and men.
2/ Secondly, the participation of women in the peace process and Afghan political life must, more than ever, remain at the heart of the concerns of the Afghan Government, UNAMA and the international community. To be sustainable and meet the expectations of the entire Afghan population, the peace process must be inclusive. It is essential that women participate directly and meaningfully in peace discussions.France welcomes the progress made at the Doha meeting held on 7 and 8 July. We hosted a delegation of 15 Afghan women in Paris in June to discuss their role in the peace process and receive training on negotiating. Nevertheless, there is still a long road ahead, and the preservation and consolidating of Afghanistan’s human rights achievements, including women’s rights, must remain an absolute priority.
With two months to go before the presidential elections, it is also essential to continue efforts to ensure the full participation of women in Afghan politics and electoral processes. Progress has been made, with women constituting 35 per cent of the electorate in the upcoming presidential elections in September, an 8 per cent increase over the October 2018 parliamentary elections. We encourage the Afghan Government to take all measures to allow all Afghan women to vote. It is regrettable that no women are running in the elections of 28 September. Women continue to face too many obstacles, ranging from intimidation and physical threats to lack of financial resources. It is therefore crucial that we lend our support to UNAMA and beyond.
Let me conclude by reaffirming the three priorities on which our efforts must focus in this pivotal period: redoubling efforts to protect civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel, and meet humanitarian needs; bringing to fruition efforts to achieve a negotiated and lasting peace in Afghanistan; and ensuring the successful holding of presidential elections. It is imperative that the international community, and in particular the Security Council, continue to support Afghanistan on its path towards peace, democracy and development.