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United Nations

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 30 September 2021

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Questions (205)

Catherine Connolly


205. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the engagement he has had at UN Security Council level with regard to ensuring that at-risk Afghan nationals who wish to leave Afghanistan will be allowed safe passage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47198/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The situation in Afghanistan has been a priority in the work of the Security Council, including during Ireland’s Presidency of the Council in September. In these discussions, Ireland has called for a peaceful and negotiated political settlement, and we have placed a very strong emphasis on the need for any new administration to guarantee the protection of civilians, to fulfil Afghanistan’s obligations under international law, and to respect human rights, especially for Afghan women and girls. We have highlighted the worsening humanitarian situation as a top priority, and have also consistently called for the safe, secure, orderly and unhindered departure of foreign nationals and at-risk Afghans who wish to leave the country. 

On 9 September, I chaired a Security Council debate on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Speaking at that meeting, I stressed that Kabul airport and Afghanistan’s land borders must be fully open and operational, both to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and to ensure that Afghans and foreign citizens can safely depart. I also emphasised the need for full and safe humanitarian access to allow life-saving support to reach all Afghans, and called for the full respect of the human rights of all Afghans, including women and girls as well as minorities.

It is critically important that the UN can continue to do its vital work in Afghanistan and, in this context, Ireland played an active role in the negotiation of UN Security Council Resolution 2596, adopted on 17 September, which renewed the mandate of UNAMA for a further 6 months.

Ireland was also actively engaged in the negotiation of Resolution 2593, which was adopted on 30 August. This called on the Taliban to respect its commitments to allow the safe, secure, and orderly departure from Afghanistan of Afghans and foreign nationals who want to leave, and for the re-opening of Kabul Airport and enhanced airport security.

We supported the Security Council Press Statement of 27 August, which was issued in response to the appalling terrorist attacks near Kabul Airport, and which called on all relevant parties to respect and facilitate the safe evacuation of civilians. Ireland was also actively engaged in the negotiation of the Security Council Press Statement adopted on 16 August, which emphasised the need for all parties to respect their obligations under International Humanitarian Law in all circumstances, including those related to the protection of civilians, and underscored the particular vulnerability of humanitarian and medical personnel, interpreters and other international service providers.

We will continue to prioritise the situation in Afghanistan in our work on the Security Council, and to do whatever we can to help ensure that at-risk Afghans can safely leave the country.

Our work on the Security Council complements our other activities in support of the Afghan people, including our ongoing efforts to provide refuge here in Ireland for some of those who are most at risk.