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NNWN/26/08/2021

International humanitarian leaders have urged Afghan parties including Taliban to cease all violence and comply with international humanitarian law and human rights. They added that these parties must allow and facilitate safe, rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian workers – both male and female staff – so they can deliver aid to civilians in need wherever they are. These humanitarians echoed UN Secretary General's call and added that the humanitarian operation will also depend on funding, movement within, to and from Afghanistan, and access to health facilities. The critical role of front-line humanitarian organizations must be supported.

All parties must protect civilians and respect the rights and freedoms of all. Today we reiterate our commitment to promoting the rights of everyone in Afghanistan, including women and girls. Important gains made in recent years – including on gender equality and girls’ access to a quality education – must be preserved. And much more needs to be done to realize the rights of women and girls. We will continue to engage to make sure this happens. Civilians must also be allowed to seek safety and protection, including the right to seek asylum.

They called on the Governments to keep borders open to receive Afghan refugees fleeing from violence and persecution and refrain from deportations. This is not the time to abandon the Afghan people. Member States must provide all possible support to Afghan nationals at risk, including a moratorium on repatriations. They urged neighbouring countries to ensure the protection of Afghans displaced across their borders. They also called on donors to remain steadfast in their support for humanitarian operations in Afghanistan and to support resilient livelihoods. The humanitarian community reached almost 8 million people in the first half of 2021 with aid. Timely funding saves lives, protects livelihoods, eases suffering and prevents further displacement. A total of 1.3 billion US dollars is required to reach almost 16 million people with humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan; only 37 per cent of required funds have been received, leaving a shortfall of almost $800 million.

The international community has spent decades working with the people of Afghanistan to make progress. Now the international community must continue to support the people of Afghanistan if those gains are not to be reversed. Humanitarian funding must be sustained.