Afghanistan: International community must act to defend human rights

photo: United Nations

The ITUC has welcomed a call by UN Secretary-General António Guterres for “all possible tools” to be used to stop human rights atrocities in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has rapidly taken control of the country after decades of international intervention.

Mr Guterres was speaking at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “It is absolutely urgent that the international community act to forestall further human rights abuses. Women and girls have already been subjected to violence, and Secretary-General Guterres has spoken of “chilling” reports of human rights violations. Inevitably, many people will try to flee to safety, and countries must be willing to assume their responsibilities under international law to protect and accept refugees.

“We will do everything we can to ensure the safety of our sisters and brothers in the Afghanistan trade union movement.”

Along with the appalling prospects facing the people of Afghanistan, the ITUC is concerned that the Taliban’s takeover threatens to further destabilise the region, and the fact that so much of its funding comes from the opium trade means there is a high risk of a substantial increase in the global illicit narcotics trade.