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Statement by India at the 31st Special Session of Human Rights Council on the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan delivered by Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Permanent Representative of India [Geneva, 24 August 2021]

Statement by India at the 31stSpecial Session of Human Rights Council on the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan, delivered by Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Permanent Representative of India. [Geneva, 24 August 2021]

Madam President,

      As a neighbour of Afghanistan, the current situation prevailing in the country is of great concern to us. We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving security situation in Afghanistan and we continue to call upon parties concerned to maintain law and order, ensure the safety and security of all Afghan nationals, UN personnel and diplomatic staff members, and observe human rights and international humanitarian law in all circumstances in Afghanistan.

2. While the security situation remains precarious, a grave humanitarian crisis is unfolding. Everyone is concerned about the increasing violations of fundamental rights of Afghan citizens. Afghans are worried about whether their right to live with dignity would be respected.

3. Thousands of people who have been internally displaced are facing acute shortage of food, medical care and shelter. The basic rights of civilians, children and women including freedom of speech and opinion, access to education and medical care have been drastically hampered due to the ongoing situation. We call upon all the parties concerned to allow unhindered access to international assistance for all those who are in the need of it.

4. India has contributed significantly in recent years to the development of the country. India’s development partnership with Afghanistan rests on the five pillars: large infrastructure projects and connectivity; humanitarian assistance; human resource development and capacity building; and High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP)s. In this context, we have  undertaken projects in critical areas of power, water supply, road connectivity, healthcare, education, agriculture and capacity building. India’s emphasis has been on the welfare and well-being of the people of Afghanistan. India's  development projects are in every one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan. India has also extended a humanitarian assistance of 75,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan to strengthen food security during the Covid-19 pandemic.

5. Our millennia old friendship with Afghanistan rests on the strong pillars of people to people relationship. India has always stood for a peaceful, prosperous and progressive Afghanistan. India stands ready to assist our friends from Afghanistan in fulfilling their aspirations.. We hope that the situation stabilizes soon, and the parties concerned address the humanitarian and security issues.

6. We also hope that there is an inclusive and broad based dispensation which represents all sections of Afghan society. Voices of Afghan women, aspirations of Afghan children and the rights of minorities must be respected. A broad based representation would help the arrangement gain more acceptability and legitimacy.

7. Stability in Afghanistan is linked to the peace and security of the region.  We hope that the situation in Afghanistan does not pose a challenge to its neighbours and its territory is not used by terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) , to threaten any other country.

8. We, as the international community, must ensure full support to the people of Afghanistan in their desire for peace, stability and security in the country and to enable all Afghans, including women, children and minorities, to live in peace and dignity.

Thank you, Madam President.