UN Human Rights Council 41: Afghanistan

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Thank you, Mr President,

The UK welcomes Afghanistan’s continued engagement in the UPR process and we are encouraged by Afghanistan’s acceptance of all three of our recommendations.

The UK is concerned by the violence directed towards certain religious and ethnic minorities in Afghanistan. We therefore welcome the Government of Afghanistan’s support to establish an independent mechanism to assess how religious and ethnic minorities can be better protected against violent attacks.

We are encouraged by Afghanistan’s commitment to fully implementing the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women and the 2018 penal code. Gender-based violence remains a problem in Afghanistan and victims’ access to justice is often limited. In line with our recommendation, we urge the Government of Afghanistan to ensure that cases of violence against women and girls are appropriately investigated and prosecuted through the criminal justice system, and that judges and prosecutors are sufficiently resourced to do their jobs.

In line with Afghanistan’s endorsement of the Call to Action to End Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, we also welcome Afghanistan’s commitment to implementing the National Child Labour Strategy and Action Plan, through investigating those suspected of being complicit in child exploitation and prosecuting those found responsible.

We continue to urge that the Government of Afghanistan takes steps to improve civilian casualty mitigation, the protection of journalists and eliminate the practice of torture and ill-treatment in detention. We understand that human rights commitments in Afghanistan are made within a context of security and humanitarian challenges, which often impedes progress. However, we encourage Afghanistan to take all measures possible to implement its commitments.

Thank you, Mr President.

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