Friday, April 18, 2014

Ambassador Tanin Addresses UN Security Council on Women and Peace and Security

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.

Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization

STATEMENT

BY

Mr. Mohammad Erfani Ayoob, Deputy Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Sixth Committee

Of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

On Agenda  Item 84

“Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization”

New York

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STATEMENT BY

Mr. Mohammad Erfani Ayoob, Deputy Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Sixth Committee

Of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

On Agenda  Item 84

“Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization”

18 October 2010- New York

Madam Chair,

The Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening

of the Role of the Organization continues to play a constructive role for the maintenance

of International peace and security. Afghanistan attaches high importance to the work

of the Special Committee on the Charter , supports the full implementation of its

mandate and stresses the need to further improve its working methods.

Afghanistan reiterates its strong support for the central role of the United Nations as a

universal forum for addressing all global issues dealing with international cooperation,

peace and security, economic development and social progress, human rights and the

rule of law, based on dialogue, cooperation and understanding among States .

My delegation thanks the bureau of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United

Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization, under the chairmanship

of Mr.Carlos Sorreta, for the presentation of the Report as well as the recommendations

contained in the document A/65/33. The Special Committee on the Charter discussed several important subjects in its deliberations from 1-9 March 2010. In this regard, my delegation would like to make stress on the following:

Madam Chair,

The peaceful settlement of disputes remains one of the essential goals of the United

Nations as enshrined in the Charter. It is the most efficient tool for maintaining

international peace and security as well as strengthening the rule of law in international

relations. Afghanistan is  committed to the principles of the UN Charter on

the peaceful settlement of disputes and at the same time recognizes the important role

of the judicial mechanisms, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the

prevention and settlement of disputes among States.

We reaffirm the importance of the reform of the United Nations Organization to

be carried out in accordance with the principles and procedures established by the Charter

of the United Nations and preserve the legal framework of this constitutional instrument.

In this context, the Special Committee on the Charter can contribute to the examination

of legal matters in the reform process of the United Nations and democratization of its

principal organs.

Madam Chair,

We welcome the contribution to the institutional memory of the international system, of the Repertory of practice of the United Nations, and the Repertoire of the practice of the Security Council. In this context, we appreciate the efforts of the Secretariat for the work done in updating these important documents as well as the progress achieved with regard to the incorporation of the Repertory volumes on the United Nations website. We support the call for continued voluntary contributions to the trust fund for updating of the repertoire and voluntary contributions to the trust fund for effective elimination of backlog in the repertory of practice of the United Nations organs.

Madam Chair,

Sanctions, applied in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, remain an

important tool in the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security.

Sanctions should be designed with focus and carefully targeted in accordance with the

Charter.  They must be supported by clear objectives and be implemented in ways that balance effectiveness to achieve the desired results against possible adverse consequences, including socio-economic and humanitarian consequences, for populations and third States.

The imposition of sanctions should be considered as a last measure only after all means

of peaceful settlement have been exhausted and their effects had been thoroughly

considered. Sanctions should have a specified time frame and be subject to periodic

review.

My delegation supports the provisions of relevant General Assembly resolutions addressing the issue of assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions

and calls for further measures to improve the procedures and working methods of the

Security Council on general issues of sanctions. In this regard, we welcome the report that due to the shift from comprehensive economic sanctions to targeted sanctions, no sanctions committees were approached by Member States with regard to special economic problems arising from the implementation of sanctions.

Afghanistan is closely working with 1267, Security Sanction Committee on Al-Qaida and the Taliban on the listing of new individuals and entities and delisting of individuals

under sanction.

While expressing our satisfaction with the progress made by the Security Council in

establishing new procedures for the listing and delisting of individuals and entities on sanctions lists, we call on Security Council sanctions committee to continue a careful  study of all individuals and entities on the list .  Additionally, the government of Afghanistan welcomes the delisting of some former members of the Taliban from the sanction list by the 1267 Committee and underscores the continued update for improving the quality of the list on the basis of a fair and clear procedure.

Afghanistan is fully committed to implementing its obligations under the 1267 SC Resolution and calls on all States to implement, in good faith, their obligations within their jurisdiction in this regard.

Thank you.

Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children

STATEMENT

BY

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Third Committee

Of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

On Agenda  Item 64

“Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children”

New York

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, please allow me to thank the Secretary-General for his recent reports on the rights of children. I would like to further express my appreciation for the report of the

Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, and Violence Against Children.

Mr. Chairman,

In Afghan tradition, each child is considered to be a blessing. The government of

Afghanistan’s continued efforts to strengthen national policy to promote and protect the rights of children reflect the Afghan value of honouring our children, which is pitted in the very roots of our culture.

Sadly, we continue to face challenges to protecting the rights of Afghan children due to the grave impacts of thirty years of war, destruction and terrorism. Their lives are all too often defined by the ongoing violence and danger, which have been the backdrop of their entire existences. Not only have the children of Afghanistan endured the harsh physical effects of war such as serious injuries, disabilities, hunger, dehydration, lack of medical care, and devastatingly, even death; but they must face the detrimental psychological effects of growing up in wartime, which result from witnessing horrendous acts of violence, losing parents and loved ones, post-traumatic stress, and living in constant fear and poverty.

Mr. Chairman,

Despite all this, the resilience of the children of Afghanistan shines through. The children of our country yearn for their educations. Enrollment rates in schools have increased to 71% this year. Around 37% of the 7 million Afghan students are girls.  Merely ten years ago, under the Taliban, girls were not allowed to go to school and were forbidden from working. Today Afghan boys and girls have equal access to education. 4,500 new schools have been built in the past 8 years, over 22 million textbooks have been delivered, and the number of teachers has grown exponentially. We must continue our efforts to address the gender gap in literacy as well as in education in rural areas and in higher education, but it is certain that we have come a long way toward improving access and gender equality in education.

Afghanistan has made efforts to improve access to healthcare for its children. Basic healthcare in Afghanistan has increased from 9% coverage of the population in 2003 to nearly 90% this year. Polio has been nearly eradicated in Afghanistan, and our national immunization campaign is in full swing. Infant and under five mortality rates have improved significantly in the last year. However, we still have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world and 50% of our children remain underweight and under-nourished. Going forward, we must take into account the link between women’s education, maternal health, and children’s health and mortality.

Mr. Chairman,

The issue of children’s rights and well-being are inextricably linked to security. The main challenge to upholding international standards of children’s rights in Afghanistan lies in the danger of those who do not recognize the importance of the rights of children. Hundreds of Afghan schools have been burned or destroyed by terrorist groups.  Disrupting access to schools has been a major element of Taliban strategy. Just a few months ago, deadly nerve gases were released in Afghan schools, poisoning hundreds of innocent students and teachers, and targeting girls.  We believe the Taliban are responsible for these horrendous attacks.  The Taliban’s targeting of young students as well as their use of children for suicide bombings and recruitment of children as listed in the report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict from 13 April 2010, reflects their disregard for international standards of children’s rights, and in fact the tradition of Afghan culture itself which recognizes the preciousness of each and every child’s life.

The government of Afghanistan will continue to assist the Secretary-General’s efforts to protect schools as zones of peace through monitoring and reporting mechanisms for these violations against children.

Mr. Chairman,

In a war-torn country like Afghanistan, a major impediment to protecting children’s rights is the challenge of enforcing rule of law. Issues such as fighting impunity and addressing grave acts of violence, or sexual abuse take time and need the support of the international community in order to maintain security in the country throughout the process.

The government of Afghanistan holds strong to its enduring commitment to protecting the rights of children under our constitution, and by international conventions and agreements to which we are a party, such as Security Council resolutions 1612 and 1882, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two optional protocols.  We have supported the recent creation of monitoring and reporting mechanisms, and further support UNAMA’s addition of Child Protection Officers on staff, and the inclusion of child protection issues in the mandates of UNAMA and ISAF. We appreciate deeply the generous assistance we have received from the international community in supporting our relentless efforts to promote the protection of children’s rights and needs, as mapped out in our National Strategy on Children at Risk.

I am pleased to report that we have implemented a high-level Steering Committee of all relevant ministries and authorities of the government to interact with the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting, to develop an action plan for effective and timely responses to problems faced by children in armed conflict. Furthermore, the government created a Commission to oversee the needs of children and juveniles, and we are currently working with civil society and religious leaders to address sexual violence, which is contrary to both national law and Islamic values.

Mr. Chairman,

The efforts we put forth toward helping children are an investment in the future of our countries and world.  Today, we reaffirm our commitment to creating an environment in which all children can move beyond the struggle to survive violence, overcome poverty, or fight for their health and educational opportunities, and can excel through realizing their human potential.