Tuesday, October 21, 2014

“The rule of law at the national and international levels”

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Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin  Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations  At the Sixth Committee on Agenda Item: 85 “The rule of law at the national and international levels.”

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).  We are thankful to the Secretary General for his report contained in A/68/213.  It offers a good insight on progress and challenges of the past year in strengthening the rule of law, nationally and internationally.

My delegation is pleased that the rule of law remains high on agenda of the United Nations. Last year’s high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the rule of law was a milestone event, adding new impetus to this very important topic.  Therein, we reaffirmed that the rule of law is a core-principle, by which a stable and prosperous international landscape will be realized.

We also welcome last month’s ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), held on the 27th of September, on this topic.

Mr. Chairman,

Just twelve years ago, Afghanistan was a country, decimated in all regards.  More than two-decades of strife and conflict left our State institutions in shambles, and our social fabric in destruction.  As such, the rule of law was virtually non-existent.  In the past 12 years, we have embarked on a successful journey towards state-building and stabilization. This endeavour was founded on the goal of consolidating the rule of law in the country.  Through this process, we have registered important progress towards a society in which the rule of law is taking root.

The link between the rule of law, democracy, security and human rights is undeniable.  In a relatively short period of time, we have consolidated democratic values in our society and polity.  The adoption of constitution in 2004 has enabled our citizens to enjoy unprecedented rights.  From the freedom of press, to the right to assembly and political expression, it guarantees these fundamental freedoms, and thus promotes the rule of law.

Moreover, despite a difficult security environment, we held consecutive presidential, parliamentary and provincial council elections, in which our people actively took part, and determined their leader.

We are now busily engaged in preparations for our next presidential elections this coming April, which will further strengthen our democratic order. We have put in place a strong electoral framework, to ensure an electoral process that is free, fair, credible, transparent, and whose outcome is embraced by the vast majority of our citizens.

In the area of security, we concluded our security sector reform (SSR), culminating in the formation of a national army and police. Today, our securities forces number 350,000 strong; and are operating with increased professionalism and capability. Through the Transition Process, they have taken charge of security in all parts of Afghanistan.  In this regard, we are thankful to our international friends and partners for their commitment and support.

In terms of governance, we are undergoing a major reform of our public administration sector, aimed at a transparent and accountable administration, where genuine service is rewarded, and illegal activity is held to account.  In this regard, we are working diligently to meet the commitments we made in the context of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF), adopted in Tokyo in July 2012.

Implementation at the national level of commitments made under conventions and protocols is a key component of advancing the rule of law at the international level.  For our part, we are working to strengthen national legislation and capacities in our institutions and agencies, such as the Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court for timely implementation.

Mr. Chairman,

The international justice system plays a crucial role in furthering the rule of law at the international level. As the report of Secretary General highlights, it also represents an important mechanism to member-states for the peaceful settlement of disputes. In this respect, attach great value to the important work undertaken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to promote international justice, and the rule of law at the international level.

We welcome recent measures for increased coordination and coherence in the UN’s rule of law based activities.

The establishment of a three-tier system, and the designation of the Department of Peace-keeping Operations (DPKO), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for the police, justice and corrections matters will better enable the UN to support post-conflict States in need of technical assistance.  We welcome the joint planning and assessment mission of the global focal point to Afghanistan, and look forward to close collaboration in the forward. In this vein, we join previous speakers in emphasizing adherence to the principle of national ownership.

Mr. Chairman,

To conclude, I wish to reiterate Afghanistan’s firm commitment to advancing the rule of law at the national and international levels.

I Thank You.