Guterres says Afghanistan is confronting an epic humanitarian crisis

Tehran, IRNA – Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that Afghanistan is confronting an epic humanitarian crisis and is on the verge of a development catastrophe.

Guterres made the remarks in a video message to a meeting in Tehran on Afghanistan.

"I thank the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for organizing this discussion at such a critical time," the UN Secretary-General said.

He pointed out that Afghanistan is confronting an epic humanitarian crisis and is on the verge of a development catastrophe, and said, "I want to highlight four areas for action. First, humanitarian relief." 

He went on to say that "for our part -- and despite enormous obstacles --  the United Nations is undertaking a massive humanitarian operation in the country". 

"We have been acting with the cooperation of the Taliban, who have progressively granted access to the areas requested and provided security when needed," Guterres added. "I thank you for your assistance in the movement of aid workers and humanitarian supplies, and would also like to highlight the need for continued collaboration to ensure protection and aid to refugees." 

He underlined that the international support to hosting countries must match the scale of needs, and said, "Second, we must find ways to avoid a total meltdown of the Afghan economy." "We need to work together to make the economy breathe again and to help people survive."

The UN secretary-general went on to say that injecting liquidity into the Afghan economy can be done without violating international laws or compromising principles.

Third, the people of Afghanistan need an inclusive and representative government, that respects international humanitarian law and upholds human rights and fundamental freedoms.  

"I am deeply disturbed by violations of human rights, including the rights of women, children and ethnic minorities, and, recently, horrific terrorist attacks on religious institutions that claimed many lives. We need to keep engaging to help move things in the right direction." 

Fourth, Afghans and the region also need a country that is secure – not one that is a haven for terrorism or a center for drug trafficking. 

This is vital to peace and stability in the region and around the world.  

These are all issues on which the region has a shared interest --  and on which all of us must speak with one voice.

"We can only achieve more stability with a united approach," he added. 

Together, let us act with determination – and without delay – to help the people of Afghanistan and to secure a better future for all.


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