Human security

UN Security Council bridges divisions to extend mission in Afghanistan

The UN Security Council voted on Thursday to extend the world body’s mission in Afghanistan in a vote that was seen as a test of whether members could overcome sharp differences over Russia’s war. in Ukraine.

Fourteen Council members voted for the resolution and Russia abstained – but did not veto overturning the document, which updated the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama ).

Mona Juul, the UN ambassador for Norway, who drafted the resolution, said it gave the UN team a “strong mandate” to monitor and report on human rights abuses. man in the country and to confront the Taliban, who returned to power last August. .

“The resolution sends a clear message that this council strongly supports the continued support of the UN to the Afghan people as they face unprecedented challenges and uncertainty,” Ms. Juul said.

Negotiations over the text were contentious. Russia and China disagreed with Western members of the council on language regarding human rights, climate change, women’s rights and whether references to the Taliban would confer any legitimacy to the group.

The agreement on the resolution was seen as a test of whether the major powers could reach compromises even as the United States and its Western allies clashed with Russia, which is loosely aligned with China, over its invasion of Ukraine.

The resolution extends Unama for another year and calls for the provision of humanitarian aid to Afghans amid a collapsing economy and as the Taliban consolidates control over the country.

The text commits Unama to liaise with the various Afghan political actors, aiming to “promote inclusive, representative, participatory and responsive governance… without any discrimination based on sex, religion or ethnicity”.

It also aims for the “full, equal and meaningful participation of women”, who have been largely excluded from Taliban decision-making as the group restricts their access to the labor market, schools and colleges.

Diplomats met in New York as UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi ended his visit to Afghanistan by reminding world powers to remember the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan even as attention is drawn to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“As much as the world is rightly concerned about the war in Ukraine, Afghanistan is going through a very serious crisis,” Grandi said in a statement Friday at the end of his four-day visit to the country.

“We talk to people who don’t know what they’re going to eat for their next meal…the needs here are huge.”

Updated: March 17, 2022, 3:25 p.m.