H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, addressed the UN Security Council on the topic of “women and peace and security.”
The meeting, which was held in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the historic resolution 1325 (2000) of the UN Security Council on women and peace and security, heard statements from numerous senior officials of both the UN and member-states. Among those participating at the gathering included US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Under-Secretary General for Gender Equality Michelle Bachelet; Under-Secretary General for Peace-keeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, as well as Ministers from various countries, including Japan, Austria, Canada, Liberia, Canada, Norway and Ireland.
Delivering the opening remarks via video message, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that the past ten years had witnessed important progress towards implementation of SC Resolution 1325. He however referred to numerous challenges to that effect, noting that the rights of women and their physical security continue to be violated world-wide. He called on the Council to endorse the “comprehensive set of indicators,” which seeks to ensure effective monitoring and reporting of violations of women’s rights, and also promotes the role of women in the resolution of conflicts.
In his statement, Ambassador Tanin alluded to the situation in Afghanistan, and highlighted, in that regard, progress in the advancement of women over the past decade. He reaffirmed Afghanistan’s steadfast commitment to women’s empowerment. “The government of Afghanistan has committed its energy and resources to strengthening the rights of women, improving their roles in all aspects of political, social, cultural and economic life, as shown through our National Action Plan for Women in Afghanistan (NAPWA),” said Ambassador Tanin.
He highlighted political participation, education and health as key areas of success for improving the lives of women. He underscored the broad participation of Afghan women in Afghanistan’s recent parliamentary elections, in which 406 women contested for a seat in their national assembly. He said that women will comprise a quarter of the Afghan parliament. Further, he stated that 1000 Afghan women were serving in the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF), while noting the government’s commitment to increasing that figure to over 5,000 over the next five years.
In the area of socio-economic development, he alluded to the high number of female students enrolled in schools, and their increased access to health services across the country. “Around 37% of the 7 million students in Afghanistan are female,” Ambassador Tanin said. He added, “more than 90% of the Afghan population had access to basic health services, and that women comprised 20% of all doctors and health-care professionals working in the country.”
Moreover, he pointed out that Afghan women were actively engaged in the reconciliation and reintegration initiative underway. “I can assure you,” he stated, “that in every single peace-talk, and in every single step of the reconciliation process, women’s rights will remain a priority…“women’s rights enshrined in the constitution, are non-negotiable.”
Ambassador Tanin expressed Afghanistan’s appreciation for the international community’ssupport of national efforts in improving the plight of women in Afghanistan. In that regard, he reiterated Afghanistan’s continued commitment to working closely with the relevant agencies of the UN for achieving additional progress.