‘Significant lapse in judgment’: UN apologises for picture of its personnel in entrance of Taliban flag in Afghanistan

The UN has apologised for “a significant lapse in judgement” after images surfaced of a few of its personnel in entrance of a Taliban flag in Afghanistan throughout a go to by deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed this week to the war-torn nation when she met the de facto authorities and expressed alarm over girls’s rights violations.

Mohammed, the highest-ranking lady within the United Nations, together with Executive Director of UN Women Sima Bahous and Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Political, Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations Khaled Khiari accomplished a four-day go to to Afghanistan on Friday.

During the go to, the delegation met Taliban leaders in Kabul and Kandahar and conveyed their alarm over the current restrictions on training and work of girls and ladies throughout the nation.

However, as Mohammed was assembly the group’s leaders, images of some UN safety personnel in entrance of the Taliban flag drew criticism.

“That photo should never have been taken. It clearly shows a significant lapse in judgment. It was a mistake and we apologise for it. And in terms of that, I believe the supervisor for these officers has spoken to them on this,” Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, informed reporters Friday when questioned in regards to the go to and the pictures.

Haq mentioned the {photograph} was taken whereas the Deputy Secretary-General was assembly the de facto leaders in Afghanistan. Her safety had taken her to that assembly and have been ready subsequent door, he mentioned.

In a submit on Twitter, Head of Foreign Relations for the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan Ali Maisam Nazary mentioned the “@UN personnel in Kabul taking a photograph w/a terrorist group’s flag brings the United Nation’s impartiality & integrity into query.

“We kindly ask @antonioguterres to investigate this matter & for @UNAMAnews to prevent such insensitive actions that can tarnish its reputation,” Nazary mentioned in a reference to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Nazary additionally posted two images displaying the UN personnel standing in entrance of the Taliban flag.

Leading the high-level UN delegation on behalf of the Secretary-General, Mohammed conveyed considerations over the Taliban’s current decree banning girls from working for nationwide and worldwide non-governmental organisations, a transfer the UN mentioned undermines the work of quite a few organisations serving to hundreds of thousands of susceptible Afghans.

“My message was very clear: while we recognise the important exemptions made, these restrictions present Afghan women and girls with a future that confines them in their own homes, violating their rights and depriving the communities of their services,” Mohammed mentioned.

“Our collective ambition is for a prosperous Afghanistan that is at peace with itself and its neighbours, and on a path to sustainable development. But right now, Afghanistan is isolating itself, in the midst of a terrible humanitarian crisis and one of the most vulnerable nations on earth to climate change,” she mentioned. “We must do everything we can to bridge this gap.” The Taliban have issued an order to shut universities to feminine college students throughout the nation till additional discover, barred ladies from attending secondary college, restricted girls and ladies’ freedom of motion, excluded girls from most areas of the workforce and banned girls from utilizing parks, gyms and public bathtub homes.

Mohammed and Bahous additionally met with affected communities, humanitarian employees, civil society and different key actors, in Kabul, Kandahar and Herat.

“What is happening in Afghanistan is a grave women’s rights crisis and a wake-up call for the international community. It shows how quickly decades of progress on women’s rights can be reversed in a matter of days,” Bahous mentioned, expressing UN Women’s solidarity with Afghan girls and ladies and vowing to proceed amplifying their voices to regain all their rights.

“We have witnessed extraordinary resilience. Afghan women left us no doubt of their courage and refusal to be erased from public life. They will continue to advocate and fight for their rights, and we are duty bound to support them in doing so,” Bahous mentioned.

In a press launch issued right here, the UN mentioned it and its companions, together with nationwide and worldwide non-governmental organisations, are serving to greater than 25 million Afghans who rely upon humanitarian assist to outlive, and stay dedicated to staying and delivering.

The UN mentioned that the newest decrees issued by the Taliban banning girls from working for NGOs has compelled many companions to pause operations that may now not be safely and meaningfully delivered.

While the current exemptions to the ban launched by the de facto authorities are opening areas for humanitarians to proceed – and in some circumstances resume – operations, these stay restricted to few sectors and actions, the UN mentioned.

“The effective delivery of humanitarian assistance is predicated on principles that require full, safe and unhindered access for all aid workers, including women,” Mohammed mentioned.

The go to by the highest UN leaders to Afghanistan adopted a sequence of high-level consultations on Afghanistan throughout the Gulf and Asia. The delegation met with the management of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Islamic Development Bank, teams of Afghan girls in Ankara and Islamabad and a gaggle of Ambassadors and Special Envoys to Afghanistan based mostly in Doha.

The delegation convened with authorities leaders from the area and spiritual leaders to advocate for the essential position and full participation of girls and rally help for the Afghan individuals, the discharge mentioned.

It added that all through the visits, nations and companions recognised the vital position of the UN in constructing bridges to discovering lasting options, in addition to the urgency to ship lifesaving help and keep efficient engagement, led by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

They requested that efforts be intensified to mirror the urgency of the scenario and confused the significance of a unified response by the worldwide group. The want for a revitalised and lifelike political pathway was persistently highlighted and all remained agency on the elemental rules, together with girls’s and ladies’ rights to training, work and public life in Afghanistan.

There was broad consensus that the area and the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation’s management on these points was vital. The proposal of a global convention on girls and ladies within the Muslim World in the course of the month of March 2023 was additionally thought-about and agreed in precept, the discharge mentioned.

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