Madam President,

I would like to begin by thanking Special Representative Ms. Otunbayeva, not only for her intervention, but also for her precious work in very difficult circumstances. I would also like to thank Ms. Shabana Basij-Rasikh for her briefing, which cannot leave us indifferent. She was: "a child attending secret schools". Here we are, back in a similar situation. As the Secretary-General concluded at the end of the recent meeting of Special Envoys, "it is difficult to overestimate the gravity of the situation in Afghanistan".

Today's statements confirm the extent of the multidimensional crisis. The oppression of women and girls is certainly not the only element, but it is certainly the most glaring. We have been able to gauge this during Switzerland's regular missions on the ground. The increasingly severe restrictions imposed by the Taliban lead to the effective exclusion of women and girls from public, political, economic, cultural and social life. This in turn exacerbates the suffering of the entire population of Afghanistan. On numerous occasions, this Council has condemned and called for the reversal of these illegal, morally reprehensible and above all economically disastrous measures. To date, although resolution 2681 clearly calls for this, none of these restrictions has been officially revoked. Switzerland congratulates all actors and NGOs who have succeeded in preserving some space to continue their work. We encourage UNAMA to continue its commitment to the full, equal, meaningful and safe participation of women and girls in public life.

I would like to highlight three aspects in particular:

Firstly, with regard to respect for human rights and international law, the Taliban's blatant disregard for human rights has dramatic consequences not only for women, but for entire families and communities. The lack of respect for rights also affects children. All children, girls and boys alike, must have access to safe, quality education. We have heard it again today: not only is this their right, but schooling helps to reduce their vulnerability and is essential to Afghanistan's future stability and prosperity. We are also dismayed by the recent decision of the Taliban-controlled Supreme Court to impose the death penalty, which is incompatible with respect for human rights and human dignity. UNAMA has also reported numerous cases of corporal punishment. Their prohibition is a fundamental principle of international law. We therefore encourage UNAMA to continue its engagement with the Taliban to put an end to all such practices and thank the Mission for this commitment. 

Secondly, with regard to the economic situation, while we note that it has stabilised at a low level, the vulnerabilities of the population remain a cause for concern. The Afghan economy's capacity to cope with these shocks is weak, and we heard from the Special Representative that she considers the humanitarian situation to be the greatest global crisis. Humanitarian support and basic needs will therefore continue to be necessary. Switzerland recalls that the Taliban are responsible for meeting the needs of the Afghan population, without any discrimination, and that they must ensure that humanitarian aid and basic services reach all those in need. Switzerland welcomes UNAMA's close cooperation with all stakeholders to find viable solutions. 

Thirdly, Switzerland is concerned about the negative effects of climate change on Afghanistan and the region, as well as about environmental degradation. Repeated droughts, desertification, floods and shortages of drinking water are the most harmful phenomena. The struggle for limited natural resources has considerable potential for conflict, not only between communities but also between Afghanistan and its neighbours. And with almost half of the Afghan population suffering from acute food insecurity, there is also an urgent need to mitigate the negative effects of climate change in order to improve food security in the long term. In this context, we welcome UNAMA's work with local communities to strengthen their management of climate change-related risks and their resilience. 

Madam President,

Every society must include women and men without discrimination, with the well-being of its entire population as the measure of its common strength. Yet, there is an urgent need to ensure greater respect for international law and human rights for all Afghans. This also includes ensuring the active participation of civil society and women's organisations in all areas, including in the independent assessment provided for in resolution 2679. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of our former colleague and to wish him courage and success in this difficult task. Only a political solution will enable the crisis to be resolved. Switzerland continues to support the Afghan people – we have heard your two recommendations - the United Nations, and in particular UNAMA, in these efforts. 

I thank you.

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