UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called Monday for a ceasefire in Afghanistan and for changes to improve conditions and rebuild the country.
Millions of Afghans have been forcibly displaced, and that number is increasing. Peace talks could be an opportunity for the displaced to return to Afghanistan, but, Grandi stated, “if violence continues as we have seen during the weekend, if peace talks fail, there will be no return.”
Additionally, Grandi noted that rights, especially women’s rights, must be upheld for peace talks to be successful. Bachelet cited “a direct correlation between the participation of women and the sustainability of peace: it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that women have an equal seat at the table.” Afghanistan is also asked to adhere to international human rights obligations and to allow the media and civil society to develop.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan “recorded nearly 6,000 civilian casualties between January and October this year.” These casualties have not slowed since peace talks began in September.