The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has restated its commitment not only to supporting Afghan people but uphold the inalienable rights of women and girls.
The fund’s Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem, made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja by the Media Associate of UNFPA Nigeria, Kori Habib.
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Kanem, who expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, said that the UN system would not be deterred in its delivery of humanitarian services, especially to women and girls.
She said “UNFPA remains firmly committed to supporting the Afghan people and upholding the hard-won rights of women and girls.
“All women and girls have a right to live free of gender-based violence and discrimination, including child, early and forced marriage.
“All humanitarian actors must have unimpeded access to deliver services and assistance to those in need,” she said.
The UNFPA executive director added that “a durable peace and sustainable development require the inclusion of all of society.”
Kanem emphasised the imperatives of human rights and dignity of all Afghans, saying it must be respected and protected and international humanitarian law upheld.
According to her, all pregnant women and new mothers have the right to access life-saving midwifery and other maternal and newborn health services.
She restated the position of UNFPA in collaboration with the UN Secretary-General and the international community in expressing grave concerns about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan.
She said it was painful to witness the immense suffering caused by fighting and displacement, and particularly heartbreaking to learn of the devastating impact on women and girls.
She asserted the role of UNFPA in stabilising the crises-ridden nation for decades, through provision of essential health services including maternal and newborn care, along with services for safety and protection.
She noted that “Afghanistan has made significant gains in reducing maternal deaths and expanding essential healthcare to reach the most vulnerable.”
Kanem, however, reiterated UNFPA’s commitment, along with other UN agencies and partners, to deliver humanitarian assistance and life-saving services to Afghan people in need, while upholding the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. (NAN)