UN / AFGHANISTAN

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17-Nov-2021 00:04:09
The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Deborah Lyons told the Security Council, “our tension now must turn to the vastly greater number of Afghans who remain in the country, but face in the short term the most dire future,” adding that “we are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe that is preventable.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / AFGHANISTAN
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DATELINE: 17 NOVEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1.Wide shot, exterior, United Nations

17 NOVEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2.Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan:
“Our tension now must turn to the vastly greater number of Afghans who remain in the country, but face in the short term the most dire future. We are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, but we are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe that is preventable.”
4. Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan:
“While the de facto authorities had initially assured the protection of women's rights within Islamic law, including education, there has been a general curtailment of Afghan women and girls’ fundamental rights and freedoms. These range from limiting their right to work, to the absence of women from major decision-making forum and from senior echelons of the civil service.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan:
“We fear and predict that up to 23 million Afghans will be in crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity amongst the worst. This will likely worsen indeed over the winter, making Afghanistan the country with the largest population in the world, facing the greatest risk of food insecurity.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Deborah Lyons, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan:
“The continued deterioration of the formal economy will provide impetus to the informal economy, including illicit drugs, arms flows and human trafficking. The ongoing paralysis of the banking sector will push more of the financial system into unaccountable and unregulated, informal money exchanges, which can only help facilitate terrorism, trafficking and further drug smuggling.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs, United States:
“We are also deeply concerned by the ongoing liquidity shortage, inflation, and other economic factors hampering the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. We welcome creative solutions from the international community to help mitigate these challenges in a way that limits undue benefit to the Taliban and sanctioned individuals.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Ghulam M. Isaczai, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations:
“It's important that the international community engages with the Taliban in accordance with the commitment made in various UN and General Assembly Resolution. That is not to recognize the reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan or any government imposed by force. Women's rights, girl’s education, freedom of media, and the establishment of an inclusive government, including with participation of women should be at the center of international engagement with the Taliban.”
14. Wide shot, Security Council
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Ghulam M. Isaczai, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations:
“The situation in Afghanistan is extremely fragile. It's only true an inclusive government can we safeguard against a new civil war along ethnic lines and use of Afghan territory by foreign terrorist outfit, as well as making a transition from a perpetual state of humanitarian crisis to a more stable economy. The role of the United Nation as an impartial and honest broker, in putting together a roadmap for peace is paramount.”
16. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Deborah Lyons told the Security Council, “our tension now must turn to the vastly greater number of Afghans who remain in the country, but face in the short term the most dire future,” adding that “we are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe that is preventable.”

Lyons briefed in person today (17 Nov) Council members on the situation in Afghanistan's and UNAMA's work.

Regarding girls’ education, the chief of the UN mission in the country noted that the de facto authorities have indicated they are working on a nationwide policy, so that the right to girls’ education can be exercised across the country. However, Lyons added, they stated that they need more time to clarify the policy and its implementation.

She also said, “while the de facto authorities had initially assured the protection of women's rights within Islamic law, including education, there has been a general curtailment of Afghan women and girls’ fundamental rights and freedoms.”

She further explained, “these range from limiting their right to work, to the absence of women from major decision-making forum and from senior echelons of the civil service.”

The Special Representative also pointed out that financial sanctions applied to Afghanistan have paralyzed the banking system affecting every aspect of the economy.

She noted that GDP is contracted by an estimated 40 per cent - cash is severely limited, traders cannot obtain letters of credit, people who have worked in safe for years cannot access their savings, civil servants’ salaries cannot be paid in full, if at all. Fuel and food prices have risen as winter approaches.

Lyons warned that an entire complex social and economic system is shutting down, in part due to the asset freeze, the suspension of non-humanitarian aid flows and sanctions.

She said, “we fear and predict that up to 23 million Afghans will be in crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity amongst the worst. This will likely worsen indeed over the winter, making Afghanistan the country with the largest population in the world, facing the greatest risk of food insecurity.”

Additionally, the continued deterioration of the formal economy will “provide impetus to the informal economy, including illicit drugs, arms flows and human trafficking,” said Lyons.

She also said, “the ongoing paralysis of the banking sector will push more of the financial system into unaccountable and unregulated, informal money exchanges, which can only help facilitate terrorism, trafficking and further drug smuggling.”

US Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis also spoke at the Council’s meeting. He said, “we are also deeply concerned by the ongoing liquidity shortage, inflation, and other economic factors hampering the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan,” adding that the US welcomes “creative solutions from the international community to help mitigate these challenges in a way that limits undue benefit to the Taliban and sanctioned individuals.”

Ghulam M. Isaczai, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations told the Council that “it's important that the international community engages with the Taliban in accordance with the commitment made in various UN and General Assembly Resolution. That is not to recognize the reinstatement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan or any government imposed by force.”

He added, “Women's rights, girl’s education, freedom of media, and the establishment of an inclusive government, including with participation of women should be at the center of international engagement with the Taliban.”

The Afghan Ambassador also said, “the situation in Afghanistan is extremely fragile. It's only true an inclusive government can we safeguard against a new civil war along ethnic lines and use of Afghan territory by foreign terrorist outfit, as well as making a transition from a perpetual state of humanitarian crisis to a more stable economy.”

He reiterated that the role of the United Nation as “an impartial and honest broker, in putting together a roadmap for peace is paramount.”
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