Monday, July 6, 2015

Security Council Debate on Women, Peace and Security

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


Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank Jordan for convening this important debate, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura and Ms. Hamsatu Allamin for their briefings this morning, and the Secretary-General for his recent report on conflict-related sexual violence.


Madam President,


Today we have heard in depth about the horrific prevalence of sexual violence in conflict all over the world. Ms. Allamin and others’ heart wrenching accounts have demonstrated the crippling effect of sexual violence on women’s ability to lead healthy and productive lives, on their psychological, emotional and physical well-being, and on their families and communities. It is alarming, as the Secretary-General noted in his report, that violence against women has become a systematic pattern in conflict zones, and to see the suffering of women everywhere multiplied by the unprecedented increase in violence and a new wave extremism around the world.


In Afghanistan, almost 40 years of war, terrorism and violent extremism created deep fissures in the very fabric of our society, shredded human relationships, restricted access to services and justice, and undermined the state’s capacity to protect its citizens. Women have been the biggest victims of the conflict, and their suffering has been compounded by a culture of discrimination against women. Today, the Taliban and other extremists continue to use sexual violence as a tool not only to pursue their destructive ends and their campaign of terror and fear but also to weaken communities, the rule of law and long-established traditional values.


Madam President,


We recognize the need to hold all perpetrators of violence against women to account no matter where they come from or with what group they are affiliated. A few weeks ago my country was appalled to see young men commit egregious violence against an innocent woman, Farkhunda, who was beaten and then burned in one of the most brutal and inhuman killings in our history. Farkhunda’s name has become a powerful symbol of the plight of the Afghan women, and her story has moved the whole society to demand an end to violence against women once and for all.


The national unity government of Afghanistan is committed to ensuring the elimination of violence against women by strengthening our justice system and reinforcing and implementing legal frameworks that guarantee human, religious and constitutional rights for all Afghan citizens. As President Ashraf Ghani, has said, “There is no point talking about how much we respect women’s honor if we let rape go unpunished or allow harassment in our streets.”


Afghanistan is party to global conventions to end violence against women and has launched a Women, Peace and Security National Action Plan. Since 2009, the government has worked to implement the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law, which criminalizes 22 types of violence against women and establishes specific punitive measures for perpetrators. The government of Afghanistan has also drafted national regulation on the prevention of sexual harassment and in November 2014 launched the first-ever gender-based violence treatment protocol for the health sector in Afghanistan.


These steps are important, but ultimately combating sexual violence in Afghanistan requires a paradigm shift in the way that our society treats women. In this regard, President Ghani has called for a mental and cultural revolution across Afghan society. This requires women to play an active role in the social, economic and political life of the country, as well as commitments to educate Afghan girls. Civil society, particularly Ulema and human rights and women’s rights activists, are central to efforts to raise awareness of women’s rights and to build a foundation of collective action against the evils of violence, terror and extremism.


Madam President,


This debate today compels us not only to bear witness to the societies that suffer from violence and conflict, and to the women who have survived the horrors of sexual violence, it compels us to work together, as an international community representing the conscience of the world to ensure that even when the flames of war are still burning, women and men and all citizens can live in dignity and peace.


Thank you.

Security Council Debate on Women, Peace and Security


Security Council Meeting on Women and peace and security. Report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence (S/2015/203)


Press Release: Ambassador Tanin Participates in United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People

On 31 March and 1 April, H.E. Ambassador Tanin participated in a United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People at the United Nations Office in Vienna. The Seminar focused on speeding up relief, recovery, and reconstruction in post-war Gaza and was organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, upon which Ambassador Tanin serves as Vice-Chairman. Participants at the Seminar included representatives of the United Nations, governments, intergovernmental organizations, experts and civil society members.

At the Seminar, participants reviewed humanitarian and development needs in the Gaza strip and Gaza’s housing, fuel, power, environmental and water crises, which intensified in the wake of the war of 2014. After the war 100,000 homes had been damaged or destroyed, and power cuts of up to 18 hours a day were common.

At the Seminar’s outset, Mr. Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations office at Vienna read out a message on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He expressed concern at the slow pace of reconstruction in Gaza and the suffering of the people there.“ Tens of thousands of Gazans — men, women, children and the elderly — are still living in temporary shelters or United Nations facilities because their homes have not yet been rebuilt.  The dangers are underscored by the fact that, during the winter storms in January, four children died due to inadequate housing,” he said.

Ambassador Tanin chaired segments of the Seminar including Plenary I on the immediate and longer-term humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip and parts of Plenary II on looking ahead: prioritizing reconstruction tasks plenary meetings. The Ambassador of Afghanistan to Vienna, H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani, delivered a statement on behalf of the government of Afghanistan at Plenary I on 31 March 2015. “The situation in Gaza is a core issue,” he said “We note with great concern the critical humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip”. Ambassador Erfani continued by expressing Afghanistan’s support to all international efforts in Gaza and for the Palestinian people.

Representatives of other countries and experts also delivered statements and engaged in dialogue on topics such as resolving Gaza’s critical water crisis, rehabilitation and development of Gaza’s infrastructure and strengthening cooperation by all parties to provide relief, promote reconstruction, and reignite development. The Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, H.E. Mr. Fode Seck Permanent Representative of Senegal to the UN, closed the meeting by emphasizing, “the people of Gaza need our continued support, now more than ever”. He called on international donors to honor their pledges so that Gaza can be rebuilt, “this time for good”.