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Ireland must take a lead in protecting women’s rights in Afghanistan

Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The National Women’s Council (NWC) has called on the Irish Government to use its presidency of the UN Security Council to urgently prioritise the protection of women’s rights and safety in Afghanistan.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWC said,

“NWC is extremely concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as reports have emerged of the deliberate targeting of women and girls by the Taliban as they have advanced through the country, including forced marriages and sexual and gender-based violence.  NWC welcomes the focus on Women Peace and Security (WPS), that Ireland has confirmed for its tenure on the UN Security Council and calls on the Irish Government to use its position to lead the global community in prioritising the protection of women’s and girl’s rights in Afghanistan as a matter of great urgency.  NWC calls on the Irish government to ensure that the voices of Afghan women and women human rights organisations are central to developing the international response.  As Ambassador Byrne Nason so powerfully articulated last week, our obligation is to act in solidarity with Afghan women for whom decades of progress is disappearing as we watch.”

Orla O’Connor continued,

“Hundreds of thousands of women, girls and their families have fled or lost their homes in the past year as a result of the advancing Taliban. Afghanistan was already facing a food insecurity crisis which is now worsening, with insufficient supplies of vaccines to tackle Covid-19, and women and girls facing significant risks. Ireland must continue to generously support the humanitarian work of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan, and support the continued presence of the UN in Afghanistan as it plays an essential role in monitoring the situation for women and girls, and coordinating an effective humanitarian response.”


Orla O’Connor concluded

 “We welcome the Irish Government’s pledge to resettle 195 Afghan refugees at this time but we join the call for Ireland to resettle at least 1,000 refugees and to develop an expanded, humanitarian approach to family reunification. Ireland must also use its presidency of the UN Security Council to urge the international community to provide shelter, necessary supports and safe passage in all neighbouring countries to anyone who requests it.”


For more information, please contact Laura Pakenham, Digital Communications Officer, NWC, Tel. 085 861 9087, email: laurap@nwci.ie


Notes to the Editor:

About the National Women’s Council:

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters. The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality, and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity.

Information on Afghanistan

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

Security Council Informal Experts Group on Women, Peace and Security (IEG)

Ambassador Byrne Nason at the August 16th UNSC Meeting on Afghanistan