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Afghanistan: "We want our future back"

Statement delivered by Sayed Hussain Anosh · Executive Director at Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CSHRN) - during the 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

16 June 2022

On 12 August 2021, my colleagues and I were celebrating the international youth day in Kabul, dreaming of building together a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan for the next generations. Our dreams were shattered only two days later. I had to fit all my belongings in a five-kilo bag and leave my country, my family and my friends behind. I only got to say goodbye to them over the phone from a collapsing airport among scenes of panic and chaos. I never thought I would be addressing the Human Rights Council as an exiled human rights defender.

Those who did not manage to leave Afghanistan lost their freedom, dignity and legitimate government. Many of them lost their lives. Human rights defenders and journalists have been and are still being imprisoned and tortured; violence, enforced disappearances, and atrocity crimes are committed daily across the country. Women and girls have been forced out of public spaces. The future that they had dreamed for themselves has been taken away from them.

We call on the Human Rights Council to not abandon the people of Afghanistan. We urge the international community to put pressure on the Taliban to ensure the establishment of a democratic and representative government; to immediately end enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture and extrajudicial killing; to ensure accountability for international human rights and humanitarian law, including in Panjshir and other provinces and ensure that the fundamental rights of women and girls, human rights defenders, minority groups and other vulnerable groups are respected and protected.

We want our future back.

I thank you.

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