Sunday, September 21, 2014

Afghanistan Government and UN sign plan to stop under-age recruits in security forces

The Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations today signed a child protection plan to end recruitment and use of children in the Afghan National Security Forces and other violations.

AFGHANISTAN SIGNS LANDMARK AGREEMENT TO PREVENT THE RECRUITMENT AND USE OF CHILDREN IN THE NATIONAL SECURITY FORCES

Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Zalmai Rassoul and Staffan de Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) co-signed the action plan with Special Representative Coomaraswamy. Peter Crowley, Representative of UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Afghanistan, attended the ceremony.

“Today we come together to undertake a big step for a better future for the children of Afghanistan,” said Minister Rassoul, adding that protection of children was not just the responsibility of the Government but of the entire community.

Implementation of the Action Plan will help remove the Afghan National Police from a UN list which includes organizations from 13 countries with “grave violations against children in armed conflict.”

Calling implementation of the UN Security Council-endorsed Action Plan “an ambitious undertaking” Special Representative Coomaraswamy called on the international community to provide reliable, sustainable and long-term support through engagement and allocation of appropriate resources.

The Steering Committee – established in July 2010 – consists of the head of the National Directorate of Security, the Presidential Advisor on Education and Health, and eight Ministers who with UN support created the Action Plan.

Its signing commits the Government to strengthening birth registration and mechanisms to better verify the age of recruits, as well as to investigate and prosecute groups and individuals who recruit minors.

The violations committed against children are monitored by the UN-led Country Task Force on Children and Armed Conflict, which includes representatives from UNICEF, UNAMA, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Health Organization (WHO), Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and two international non-governmental organizations.

H.E. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador Taning at the United Nations Security Council Meeting: Open debate on Post-Conflict peacebuilding on January 21, 2011.

Ambassador Taning at the United Nations Security Council Meeting: Open debate on Post-Conflict peacebuilding on January 21, 2011.

UN Debates PeaceBuilding: Afghan Ambassador Calls for National Ownership, End to Taliban Violence

On January 21st, the United Nations Security Council debated post-conflict peace-building and Institution building. After opening remarks by the Secretary General, the Vice Prime Minister of Timor Leste, Jose Luis Guterres, spoke on behalf of G7+, a new group of conflict affected and fragile states, providing a unique perspective on the subject.  Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany then addressed the Council as chair of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Security Council Meeting: Open debate on Post-Conflict peacebuilding.

Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, expressed the need for institution building as an essential component for lasting peace in Afghanistan.  He reminded that in the “ubiquitous debate on the current situation in Afghanistan, it is easy to overlook the thirty years of conflict that Afghanistan has overcome.”  While Afghanistan was thought of as the most failed state in the world in 2001, it has made significant progress toward stabilization considering its context, he said.

Afghanistan’s reintegration and reconciliation process was highlighted in Ambassador Tanin’s statement.  He invited members of the armed opposition to put down their arms, renounce violence, and join the peace process.  He addressed the Taliban directly, “Now that we have come halfway, it is the Taliban’s turn to fulfill its responsibility. If the Taliban wants to join the peace talks, it must end violence and terrorist attacks…and sever ties with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.”

In keeping with a common theme emphasized by most member states in this debate, national ownership was underscored as vital for sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

Video of Security Council Meeting: Post-conflict peacebuilding

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Security Council Meeting: Post-conflict peacebuilding