Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Rule of Law at the National and International Levels in the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly

Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Meeting on Agenda Item: 83 The Rule of Law at the National and International Levels in the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

We wish to thank the Secretary General for his report “Strengthening and Coordinating United Nations rule of law activities,” – contained in document A/67/296.  My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by the Islamic Republic of Iran, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

The undeniable fact remains that the rule of law is the fundamental basis for a stable and harmonious world order, where mankind as a whole is able to benefit from peace, security, development, social progress and prosperity. This underscores the obvious – that in strengthening the rule of law, nationally, and internationally, we have a shared interest and collective responsibility.

As in past sessions, our discussion exemplifies that the UN attaches high priority to the agenda item under our consideration.  In this context, we commend the UN’s important role in the overall effort to strengthen the rule of law, both at the national and international levels.  From constitution making, to helping States reform their national legal systems, and build capacity in their justice and security institutions, the UN is playing a key role in enabling countries to achieve stable and harmonious societies, governed by the rule of law.

Mr. Chairman,

Based on our own difficult past, characterized by decades-long conflict and strife, which left our state-institutions devastated and in shambles, Afghanistan is keenly aware of both the importance of, and challenges associated with, consolidating the rule of law.  It was only eleven years ago when we began our state-building efforts, with the support of the international community. Ever since, the rule of law has been at the core of strategy to restore a lasting peace and stability, and to enable Afghans to take full charge of meeting their security, governance and development needs.

We have taken a wide range of measures to strengthen governance, and the rule of law at both the national and sub-national levels.  Among them include the promulgation of a constitution, promoting and protecting the rights of all citizens; a comprehensive overhaul of our national legal framework; as well as action plans to build capacity in our state-institutions.

In the area of security, we successfully implemented our security sector reform (SSR), leading to the formation of a national army and police, representative of the national character of our society.  As we speak, Afghan national security forces are increasingly taking charge of combat operations throughout the country, with the overall aim to achieve full security responsibility by end of 2014.  Taking this opportunity, we wish to mention the important support provided by the international community, including partner countries, and the United Nations, UNDP in particular, to our SSR initiative.

Mr. Chairman,

Defeating corruption and achieving a sound transparent and efficient administration which enjoys the full trust and confidence of the Afghan people continues to be pursued as a matter of high priority. This past July President Karzai issued a Decree, instructing all Ministries, agencies and independent departments to implement comprehensive measures, including reforms, to defeat corruption and enhance transparency.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan stands in full support of the outcome of the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law, which convened on the 24 of September, last month. As a first of its kind, the historic gathering brought together member-states, non-governmental organizations, and civil society to map-out the way forward in the rule of law agenda.  The onus is on all of us now to translate political commitments to reality.

The High-Level Meeting’s Declaration underscores the importance of national ownership in the rule of law’s activities. In this connection, we emphasize that international support should be aligned with the respective assistance needs, and priorities of States. Such will benefit effective utilization and efficient use of aid.

Mr. Chairman,

The UN has a pivotal role to play in strengthening the rule of law.  We feel that more could be done to further increase the UN’s operational capability in this area. The Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, Chaired by the Deputy Secretary General, and supported by the Rule of Law Unit, is mandated to ensure the overall quality, coordination and coherence of rule of law assistance within the UN System.  It is imperative that the Resource and Coordination Group have at its disposal the resources necessary to effectively carry out its mandate.

Afghanistan fully supports the continued consideration of the rule of law agenda in the General Assembly, and other organs of the United Nations.   We consider it imperative to integrate the rule of law into all pillars of the UN’s activities, such as peace and security, development, human-rights and alleviation of poverty.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, let me reiterate Afghanistan’s continued commitment to helping advance the rule of law at the national and international levels!