August 16, 2021
Friends of UNFPA joins the United Nations Secretary-General and the international community in expressing its deep concern about the grave humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. It is painful to witness the immense suffering caused by fighting and displacement, and particularly heartbreaking to learn of the devastating impact on women and girls.
“UNFPA remains firmly committed to supporting the Afghan people and upholding the hard-won rights of women and girls,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. “A durable peace and sustainable development require the inclusion of all of society. The human rights and dignity of all Afghans must be respected and protected and international humanitarian law upheld.”
“All pregnant women and new mothers have the right to access lifesaving midwifery and other maternal and newborn health services. 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 added.
For decades, UNFPA has provided essential health services to women and girls in Afghanistan including maternal and newborn care, along with services for safety and protection. Afghanistan has made significant gains in reducing maternal deaths and expanding essential health care access to reach the most vulnerable. These powerful advances must not be eroded.
In 2020, UNFPA assisted in 70,000 safe deliveries in Afghanistan. We also provide health care workers with personal protective equipment during COVID-19, train and support midwives in remote areas across Afghanistan, and operate mobile health clinics to reach migrants.
We are committed to securing the health and safety of women and girls in Afghanistan today and in the future. We have launched an urgent appeal to get lifesaving care and support to them in this crisis. We stand with the world’s most vulnerable, no matter what.