Saturday, November 1, 2014

H.E. Ambassador Tanin Highlights the Importance of Women’s Leadership in the Future of Afghanistan at the Security Council Debate on Women, Peace and Security

On 28 October 2014, the Security Council held an Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, with the theme of “Displaced Women and Girls: Leaders and Survivors”. Executive Director of the UN Women, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Assistant Secretary-General of Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Edmund Mulet, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Mr. Chaloka Beyani and a representative of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, Ms. Suaad Allami delivered statements at the debate’s outset.

The Executive Director of the UN Women, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, opened the debate and noted that the Council is facing extraordinary challenges including the rise of violent extremism and the worst levels of displacement since the end of the Second World War. “We will not overcome these challenges without putting gender equality at the front and centre of our efforts to maintain peace and security,” she said.

Representatives from over 65 Member States and regional groups took the floor.  Speakers noted with concern the ongoing, protracted conflicts that are contributing towards the unprecedented levels of displacement, and the violent extremism directly targeting women and girls.

Taking the floor, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, noted the timeliness of the Security Council debate. “War and conflict affect more lives today, all over the world but particularly in Afghanistan and the wider region, than at any time in recent history,” he said.  “Millions of families have been forced to flee their homes, and millions of women and children have been left vulnerable, bearing the brunt of the burden of these tragic circumstances.”

Ambassador Tanin stressed that the people of Afghanistan, particularly women and girls, have suffered immensely as a result of almost 40 years of war and conflict. “Violence in my country shattered their lives, interrupted their educations, threatened their livelihoods, destroyed their communities, and pushed them from their homes to other countries or to unfamiliar cities and slums,” he said.  Despite these challenges, the Ambassador noted that the new President and National Unity Government are committed to women’s full and equal participation at all levels of governance and decision-making.

 

Ambassador Tanin concluded his statement by emphasizing that as Afghanistan prepares for the challenging transition from international security forces to Afghan forces and institutions at the end of this year, the Government of Afghanistan believes that women’s participation is critical to preserving and enhancing the gains of the last 12 years and to the future stability, democracy, prosperity and peace of the country. “Afghan women,” he said, “have suffered immensely as a result of Taliban rule, extremism and decades of war. It is only when they are free from violence, want and fear that we will be able to secure democracy, stability and lasting peace in Afghanistan.”

 

 

Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Security Council Open Debate on  Women, Peace and Security

Thank you, Madam President, for organizing such an important meeting and congratulations on your leadership of the Council this month.  I would also like to thank previous speakers for their statements and the Secretary-General for his recent report on Women, Peace and Security. I look forward to his global study on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 and the upcoming High Level Review of the resolution.

 

This debate could not have come at a more timely moment: war and conflict affect more lives today, all over the world but particularly in Afghanistan and the wider region, than at any time in recent history. Millions of families have been forced to flee their homes, and millions of women and children have been left vulnerable, bearing the brunt of the burden of these tragic circumstances.

 

Madam President,

 

The people of Afghanistan, particularly women and girls, have suffered immensely as a result of almost 40 years of war and conflict. Violence in my country shattered their lives, interrupted their educations, threatened their livelihoods, destroyed their communities, and pushed them from their homes to other countries or to unfamiliar cities and slums.

 

Afghanistan remains the largest protracted refugee situation in the world, and this year the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has increased due to a resurgence of insecurity in parts of the country. Women suffer disproportionately in situations of displacement; they often lack access to the most basic services and resources and are at a higher risk of discrimination and human rights abuses.

 

This past year saw a rise in the violent activities of the Taliban, terrorists groups and other anti-government armed opposition, and the greatest increase in civilian deaths of the past 13 years, many of which were women and girls. The Taliban and other anti-government elements continue to launch targeted attacks and intimidation campaigns against women from all spectrums of society- from school girls to female leaders, including women police officers, human rights defenders, media personnel and politicians. Insecurity has also hampered the government’s ability to prosecute human rights abuses and uphold the rule of law, exacerbating women’s vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence, domestic abuse, harassment, forced marriage and other crimes.

 

Madam President,

 

Despite these challenges, Afghanistan has arrived at an important turning point that offers tremendous opportunity for strengthened progress on the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Last month the new President was inaugurated, representing the first democratic transition from one elected president to the next in the country’s history. In this year’s Presidential and Provincial Council elections, millions of women participated as voters, and hundreds played a significant role as candidates and as campaigners, despite facing threats and intimidation. Their involvement set the tone for an Afghanistan in which women participate and contribute equally to the country’s future.

 

President Ghani and the national unity government are committed to women’s full and equal participation at all levels of governance and decision-making. The President made this clear in his inaugural address, in which he pledged to promote women’s advancement in Afghanistan and praised his wife, Rula Ghani, for the role she would play as an active public figure dedicated to promoting women’s rights. This gesture is a first for our young democracy.

 

Just a few days ago, Afghanistan signed the Women, Peace and Security National Action Plan, which aims to make progress on the four main areas of participation, protection, conflict prevention and relief and recovery. We appreciate the Government of Finland’s support for the development of the plan and remain committed to implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda through key institutions as well as the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA). We are also dedicated to promoting the participation of women in the security sector, and aim to increase the number of women police officers from its current 2,230 to 10,000 by 2017.

 

Madam President,

 

As Afghanistan prepares for the full transfer of security responsibility from international to Afghan forces at the end of this year, the President and new leadership of the country are committed to a comprehensive reform agenda. Over the next two years, Afghanistan will hold district and parliamentary elections, reform electoral laws, convene a Loya Jirga to consider amendments to the constitution and conduct a reinvigorated outreach and reconciliation process with the armed opposition. Throughout, the active role of all segments of the Afghan population, particularly Afghan women, will be essential. The government of Afghanistan believes adamantly that their participation is critical to preserving and enhancing the gains of the last 12 years and to the future stability, democracy, prosperity and peace of the country. In this regard, the international community’s continued support of Afghanistan’s efforts to advance women’s rights and status remains crucial.

 

Madam President,

 

Afghan women have suffered immensely as a result of Taliban rule, extremism and decades of war, and it is only when they are free from violence, want and fear that we will be able to secure stability and lasting peace in Afghanistan. For these reasons, we welcome the opportunities provided to us by the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Beijing conference on women, the 15th anniversary of 1325 and the adoption of the sustainable development goals to make further progress on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda for women in Afghanistan and for women around the world.

 

Thank you.

Ambassador Tanin Welcomes East West Institute Report, “Afghanistan Reconnected” at the United Nations

On 17 October at the United Nations, the East West Institute (EWI) presented key recommendations from its latest report,  “Afghanistan Reconnected: Regional Economic Security Beyond 2014,” which highlights the potential for economic growth and stability in Central Asia.  The event was supported by the Permanent Missions of Germany and the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations.  Permanent Representatives to the United Nations of several of Afghanistan’s neighbor countries, including China, India, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkey, Tajikistan and other government officials participated in the event, as well as United Nations officials, civil society representatives, and experts.

IMG_2722Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, delivered the welcome address. He highlighted the importance of EWI’s Abu Dhabi Process report and its aim to identify and promote opportunities for economic growth in Afghanistan and the region.  The initiative “could not have come at a more timely moment,” the Ambassador remarked.  “Just a few weeks ago, a new President was inaugurated in what was the country’s first democratic transition of power from one President to the next.”  The new national unity government, led by newly elected President Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai,  is focused on securing long-term peace, security and economic development in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Tanin emphasized the importance of regional cooperation to stability in Afghanistan. “Our economic cooperation and our economic interconnectivity provide us with a solid basis for strengthened peace, security and stability both in Afghanistan and in the region, which in turn will a create a safe environment for investment and build greater confidence between countries,” he said. “This mutually enforcing relationship applies not only to Afghanistan but also to region as a whole.”

Following Ambassador Tanin’s remarks, other distinguished government representatives, civil society members and business leaders participated in panel format to frame the economic and political context following the recent Presidential elections and to discuss opportunities for economic growth in Afghanistan.