Monday, December 22, 2014

Press Release: UN Security Council holds debate on the Situation in Afghanistan

On 18 December 2014, the Security Council held a debate on the Situation in Afghanistan. Council Members and representatives from the European Union and over thirteen member states delivered statements on behalf of their governments. Mr. Nicolas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of the United States Mission in Afghanistan, opened the debate. Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, also briefed the council on counter-narcotics efforts. Following Mr. Fedotov’s remarks, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, delivered a statement on behalf of his government.

Ambassador Tanin began his remarks by noting the upcoming end of the international military combat mission in Afghanistan. The mission was authorised under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter 13 years ago, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. NATO will continue to assist, advise and train the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) beyond 2015 through the Resolute Support Mission. “This is an historic step towards a new beginning in Afghanistan,” Ambassador Tanin remarked, “and a key marker of the country’s transition to a new chapter in its relations with the international community.”

Ambassador Tanin also noted the recent presidential elections, which represented the first peaceful transfer of power from one leader to the next in Afghanistan’s history. Following the elections, the leading presidential candidates agreed to form a national unity government. This agreement, the Ambassador said, “fostered an environment of hopefulness, inclusivity and political consensus, and cemented the foundation for lasting peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.”

Highlighting key aspects of the national unity government’s reform agenda, Ambassador Tanin noted the government’s commitments to fight corruption, advance good governance, promote economic and fiscal stability, strengthen regional cooperation, and enhance development partnerships. The government’s “positive steps to advance the reform agenda,” the Ambassador remarked, “have sent a powerful message to the people of Afghanistan and the international community that… a successful Afghanistan is entirely within our reach.”

Following Ambassador Tanin’s statement, members of the Security Council, a representative of the European Union, and representatives of thirteen other Member States took the floor. They expressed continued support for Afghanistan in the Transformation decade ahead, and applauded Afghanistan’s progress in achieving key transition objectives.

United Nations Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution on NATO Resolute Support Mission

 

On 12 December 2014, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2189 on Afghanistan. The resolution welcomes the new NATO mission, the ‘Resolute Support Mission’, in the country. The resolution also underscores the importance of continued international support for the stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan.

Following the Security Council vote, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, delivered a statement on behalf of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Ambassador Tanin thanked Council members for the adopting the resolution. “The adoption of this resolution is a clear indication of the continuing support of the Council and the international community for the efforts of the Afghan people and the government of Afghanistan to bring peace, stability, democracy and prosperity to the country throughout the transformation decade,” he said.

Ambassador Tanin highlighted the continuing security challenges facing Afghanistan and the national unity government, demonstrated by the recent devastating attacks in Kabul and the Paktika province. “Peace and stability cannot be achieved through security measures alone, the government of Afghanistan is embarking upon an ambitious reform agenda aimed at bringing peace and prosperity to the country,” he said.

 

The adoption resolution of the resolution is timely. In 19 days, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) will assume full responsibility for the security of the country as the transition phase concludes at the end of 2014. “As the Transformation decade begins,” said Ambassador Tanin, “we are grateful to our NATO and international partners for their commitment to train, advise and assist the ANDSF after the completion of the ISAF mission.”

 

Ambassador Tanin concluded by expressing deep gratitude to NATO, partner countries and their international forces on behalf of the government of Afghanistan for their support and sacrifice to help Afghanistan advance peace and security in the country. “With the ongoing support of our international partners, including through the Resolute Support Mission, and the vigorous work of the new government of Afghanistan, their efforts will not have been in vain,” he concluded.

The resolution welcomed the increased the capabilities and capacities of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and looks forward to the completion of the security transition at the end of 2014 and the future close coordination between the leadership of the Resolute Support Mission, the Government of Afghanistan and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The resolution further condemns the ongoing violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al Qaida and other violent and extremist groups and recognizes Afghanistan’s gains since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, particularly on democracy, governance, institution building, economic development and human rights.

 

Press Release: Ambassador Tanin speaks at a Panel Discussion on the ‘Political Participation of Women – Why Should Men Bother?’ at the United Nations

On 8 December 2014, the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations, co-organized a panel discussion entitled “Political Participation of Women – Why Should Men Bother?”  The panel featured Mr. Petr Drulak, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Mr. Daniel Seymour, Deputy Director of Programmes, UN Women. The discussion was moderated by Ambassador Edita Hrdá, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the UN.

All panelists stressed the importance of women’s political participation to the wellbeing of society as a whole and agreed that gender equality is a priority for men and women alike. “Equal participation is not only fair and just. It is in the best interest for all. It is a project for all,” said Mr. Šimonović.

Taking the floor, Ambassador Tanin noted the importance of this discussion, particularly in Afghanistan, and countries in the Islamic world, where women face significant obstacles in public and political life. “Just as the Taliban in the 1990s imposed their own interpretation of Sharia law, today Islamist extremist groups from ISIL to Boko Haram force women to conform to their fanatical frameworks of austerity and deny them their rights to public life, education and autonomy,” he said.

Ambassador Tanin then gave an overview of the historical context of women’s rights in Afghanistan. . “Afghanistan in the 1920s was at the forefront of the women’s rights movement in the Islamic world,” he said. The Afghan constitution, adopted in 1921, guaranteed the equal rights of citizens and the state significantly expanded access to education and public services for women and girls in the country. In the 1960s and 1970s, we dozens of girls’ and mixed schools were established, hundreds of women were sent for education abroad, women were elected to the Parliament and appointed to high level government positions including the Cabinet. Afghanistan was seen as one of the most modern places for women in the region until the emergence of the Taliban in the 1990s, which caused a disastrous retreat in women’s rights.

Afghanistan has made great progress in the last decade. A key example of the enhanced role of women in Afghanistan is their unprecedented involvement in the recent Presidential and Provincial elections as millions of women participated as voters, candidates, campaigners and observers. The country has joined the international discourse on women through its commitments and actions, with men playing an important role in promoting the advancement of women in the country. The new President of Afghanistan, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is committed to improving the political participation of women. “The government and the civil society – men and women included – are part of the new strategies, plans and measures that focus on women’s rights,” Ambassador Tanin said.

Ambassador Tanin highlighted three main factors that were critical for the advancement of women in Afghanistan: the role of leaders, the state and civil society. In the months and years ahead, he emphasised, “it is essential that Afghanistan preserve all that has been achieved; a retreat will be disastrous in a country where women’s’ rights has been the core of our successful democratization. We need peace and there is a great role for both women and men to play the future in Afghanistan.”