Monday, July 28, 2014

Ambassador Dr. Tanin condemned the Terrorist Attacks outside Indian Embassy

Ambassador Zahir Tanin today condemned the terrorist attack that occurred this morning outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan before he delivered a statement to the Third Committee. A suicide car bomb explosion was responsible for killing 15 civilians and two Afghan police officers, and injuring over eighty.

After condemning the attack, Ambassador Dr. Tanin said, “This was an obvious attack on civilians. The perpetrators of this attack and those who planned it are vicious terrorist who target innocent people, not just Afghan civilians but also our friends and allies.” The Taliban have claimed responsibility for this act, but did not say why they targeted the Indian Embassy. Ambassador Dr. Tanin said, “I want to extend my and my governments heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims.”

General Debate of the UNGA Second Committee

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations

at the General Debate of the UNGA Second Committee

Mr. Chairman,

First, allow me to congratulate you sincerely on your election as Chairman of the Second Committee. My delegation looks forward to cooperating with you over the next months, and we look forward to a productive session.

Afghanistan aligns itself with the statement of Nepal on behalf of all LDCs. Also, we would like to express our solidarity with the G77 and China, as well as other post-conflict states, LDCs and LLDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

The Second Committee this year is faced with a number of pivotal issues whose resolutions are crucial to our common efforts in creating a stable, secure, and promising common future. The financial and economic crisis, food insecurity, the eradication of poverty in developing countries, climate change, and sustainable development all represent extremely difficult challenges. It is essential that the United Nations, and we nations united under its banner, work together to address them urgently.

Recent international accords and conferences have demonstrated a broad global desire for progress. The United Nations International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries, as well as the 3rd UN Conference on Least Developed Countries have shown crucial initiative. The Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda on Aid Effectiveness, as well as the Hong Kong Ministerial declaration, all prioritize the needs and difficult situation of LDCs in our current environment. Afghanistan is committed to all of these initiatives, and hopes to add the resolution of the Doha Round to this list of crucial programs.

Mr. Chairman,

Like other nations in its situation, Afghanistan’s development capabilities have been particularly threatened by the financial crisis. Official Development and foreign aid to Afghanistan and other LDCs and special-needs countries must be effective, consistent, and predictable in order to meet the demands of development. Nations deserve the chance to lift themselves out of poverty, eradicate corruption, and become truly self-sufficient; but this cannot happen without proper use and channeling of aid, and without encouraging national ownership. Accountability, transparency, donor coordination, and fulfillment of promises must all be comprehensively addressed as soon as possible to ensure that limited resources are being effectively utilized. Otherwise, without intensified aid, Afghanistan will find it very difficult to implement its National Development Strategy, as well as the Millennium Development Goals and the IADGs.

As with other poor countries, a sustainable, self-sufficient future for Afghanistan will depend on agricultural development and food security. Least developed nations cannot afford to suffer from the consequences of a Financial Crisis that we had no hand in; more well-coordinated development programs and increased agricultural aid now are the only way to free Afghanistan of the need for them in the future.

Afghanistan’s situation reflects the desperate need for the eradication of poverty in developing countries. The global system will never be able to establish a balance of less dependence and more cooperative work if developing countries continue to be burdened by the impossibly heavy load of poverty combined with the strain of their own need for development. Afghanistan hopes that this 2nd UN Decade for Eradication of Poverty will be the last.

Mr. Chairman,

Climate Change is a unique issue without extensive precedence in the United Nations. It affects, and will unequivocally affect, all countries – no matter their size or wealth. All should recognize the dire need for a successful Copenhagen Conference, and support the G77 and China’s UNFCCC as well as the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols, as these remain central to the framework for cooperative action to address climate change. Afghanistan assures all member states of its complete cooperation towards a solution for a secure future.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan is facing a number of very difficult challenges, most of which center around its situation as a post-conflict country. Sustainable development is often sidelined in post-conflict situations because of the more immediate needs of these states. After all, large-scale sustainability projects require much time and resources, and so short-term projects often seem more feasible, especially during a period where financial issues are creating donor reluctance. However, both the short- and long-term are necessary. We cannot delay development indefinitely while waiting for security, or rely on superficial quick-fixes. The ingredients of the long-term solution will include sustainable development, job creation, and poverty reduction, along with the spread of science and technology. In places like Afghanistan, efforts towards sustainable development may be the only way to establish enduring security and to reduce dependence on foreign aid.

Mr. Chairman,

Regional cooperation represents another necessary element needed to construct a solution to the situation in Afghanistan and other post-conflict states. South-South as well as North-South Cooperation are essential for development. Afghanistan hopes that its stability and prosperity, and that of the region, will benefit from cooperation through the reinvigorated use of Afghanistan as a land bridge within the larger region; through the expansion of regional energy, trade, and transit markets; and through a coordinated effort to eliminate the narcotics trade. To this end, Afghanistan is an active member of ECO, SAARC, and are in the contact group of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It is only through this cooperation that international – and especially regional – sustainable growth, trade, transit, and development can be supported.

Mr. Chairman,

The work of the second committee this year will address essential global issues that bear not just on development, but on the environment, peace and stability. We are hopeful that he work of and cooperation within the Second Committee this year would be productive.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan

to the United Nations

at the Security Council

Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security


Mr. President,

First, allow me to congratulate you for assuming the presidency of this Council for the month of October, and thank you for convening this meeting so early in your presidency.  There has recently been noteworthy positive momentum in these halls concerning the rights of women, and it is my hope that we can benefit from that momentum here today.

Mr. President,

Worldwide, women start at a disadvantage. In some countries, this means wage discrepancies and debates over harassment at the workplace.  But in conflict and post-conflict situations, the substantial ills facing these societies are magnified when it comes to women.  When a society is poor, proportionally more women go hungry.  When education or healthcare is lacking, women and girls are the first to be deprived.  And when a nation faces substantial insecurity, women find themselves more vulnerable, more restricted, and more cut off from necessary resources.

Mr. President,

The situation of women in Afghanistan became an issue of wider international interest when the Taliban first began enforcing their brutal, misogynistic social policies and Afghan women became ztanin_securitycouncilhunted people in their own homeland. Thus, when the Taliban were toppled in 2001, it was seen at least partially as the stroke that freed Afghan women from their chains.  Afghanistan and the international community made a promise to each other that what happened under the Taliban would never happen again.  More importantly, we made the same promise to the women of Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Over the past eight years, we have kept those promises to the best of our abilities.  The Afghan Constitution guarantees equal rights to women and representation in the government.  Afghanistan has endorsed the Millennium Development Goals, is a signatory to the Beijing Programme of Action as well as CEDAW, fully supports the implementation of resolutions 1325 and 1820, and has put in place a legal and political framework that protects and promotes the rights of women.

Beyond these legal initiatives, Afghan women have seen a tangible improvement in their daily lives, including improved access to education, healthcare and basic infrastructure. Afghanistan’s National Action Plan for Women ensures that women and girls receive equal access to these resources.

Further, and perhaps most importantly, Afghan women now play an active role in the sociopolitical life of Afghanistan.  Women have been appointed to high governmental posts, and they represent a guaranteed percentage of both local and national governing bodies.  In this most recent election, women ran for positions in provincial councils in greater numbers than ever before – and there were even two female candidates for president.  More than 60 thousand women were trained and volunteered as observers, poll workers, and ballot counters.  And, despite the increasingly turbulent security situation, more than two million women across the country came out to vote.

Mr. President,

Despite these positive developments, Afghan women do not enjoy the freedom and security that they deserve.  In order to fully satisfy our promise to the women of Afghanistan, we need to understand the roots of the problems as well as the situations today that frustrate our efforts.

First, enduring insecurity has always played a central role in women’s suffering in Afghanistan.  In the past, insecurity caused a complete breakdown in infrastructure and resources, resulting in backbreaking poverty and lack of access to healthcare and basic education.  Today, restricted access to the most insecure parts of the country perpetuates this situation and hinders progress.  The Taliban are increasingly targeting civilians, particularly women and girls, to deny them access to basic services and rights.  In addition, insecurity promotes a gun culture that values brute force over rule of law. The resulting danger keeps women confined to their homes out of fear for their safety and honor, further fettering their access to services and public life.

Second, extremist ideologies of oppression have primarily threatened women over the past thirty years.  Throughout the 1990s, the Taliban and other armed groups engaged in severe violence against women.  Crimes against women, including sexual violence and forced marriage, were justified and protected by extremism.  Unfortunately, as long as insecurity and extremism persist, Afghanistan cannot be freed of this perversion of perspective and action regarding women.

Mr. President,

In addition to these root causes, weak and fragile state institutions in parts of Afghanistan have regrettably restricted the ability of the government to fully protect the rights of women.  An infant justice system and police force do not yet have the training or resources to investigate, adjudicate, or punish crimes adequately. And our underdeveloped bureaucracy has not yet acquired the capacities necessary to meet the demands placed upon it.  In Afghanistan, there is not a lack of will for progress, but circumstances have proved to be a formidable opponent to its achievement.

Mr. President,

Despite these continuing challenges, Afghanistan is committed to ensuring that all women enjoy the full use of their rights in safety.  With the help and support of the international community, we are addressing weak and insufficient governance through capacity-building and the strengthening of our institutions and security apparatus. In this regard, we emphasize the importance of the international forces’ new focus on protecting the population, which will help to minimize violence against women.  Further, we are continually trying to improve the legal status of Afghan women and uphold the international juridical and legislative standards, for example through the review of over 60 of the more controversial articles of the proposed Shia family relations law.

Mr. President,

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to representing the interests of all Afghans: male and female, young and old.  We are encouraging Afghan women to take a proactive and vocal role in their future, as this is essential to reknitting the economic, social and political fabric of Afghanistan.  Above all, in our political pursuit of national reconciliation, we must not break the promise that we made to ourselves and to Afghan women in 2001.  We cannot betray women’s rights and security in exchange for a shallow peace in Afghanistan, because in doing so we would betray our own hope for a stable future.  We must instead unite around the ideal of equal justice and rights for all.
Thank you, Mr. President.