Thank you, President.
First, allow me to join my colleagues in conveying our sincere condolences to the people of Afghanistan for the suffering caused by the devastating earthquake. As my ministers have said, the United Kingdom is ready to support them at this difficult time. The UK is one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, and we are already working with teams on the ground, including the UN, NGOs and the Red Cross, to get help to those who need it most.
Let me also thank DSRSG Alakbarov and USG Griffiths for their briefings – and especially our civil society speakers, whose testimonies are powerful and touching.
The humanitarian and economic situation in Afghanistan remains critical. Over 24 million Afghans need humanitarian support, and nearly 20 million face acute food insecurity. Urgent action is needed to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and economic collapse.
Strong UN leadership remains key to coordinating international support and effective negotiations with the Taliban to ensure a principled humanitarian approach across the country.
Britain remains loyal to the Afghan people. Our foreign minister co-hosted the UN conference on humanitarian promises on March 31, raising $ 2.4 billion. This financial year, we have allocated $ 380 million in national assistance to support humanitarian and basic human needs.
We strongly support the 1988 sanctions regime as a key tool for promoting peace, stability and security in Afghanistan. The humanitarian exemption ensures that the regime does not constitute an obstacle to the provision of humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs.
economic stability and the provision of basic services are essential to end the cycle of humanitarian needs and suffering. We support the UN leadership in this regard and emphasize the need for the Taliban to remain committed to both the Afghan people and the international community.
As we have heard today from Ms. Hakim and Ms. Royan, women and girls in Afghanistan face unacceptable restrictions on freedom of movement and dress, as well as access to education, jobs and services. Educated women and girls who are able to participate fully in society will contribute to economic development, peace and security.
The United Kingdom is deeply concerned about serious allegations of extrajudicial killings, detentions and disappearances of Afghans, including civil society activists, former security forces and government officials.
The number of reports of terrorist attacks has also increased. Terrorist and narcotic threats from Afghanistan pose a risk, not only to the state, but also to regional security.
President, the role of the UN is still more important than ever. We pay tribute to the work of Deborah Lyons and look forward to working with the new leadership team.
The international community must continue to speak with one voice to put pressure on the Taliban to meet their obligations and advance common goals in terms of human rights, humanitarian access, the fight against terrorism and a more inclusive government.