Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Statement Attributable to the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan

Kabul, 2 May 2014 – A series of heavy rain induced landslides struck in the Argo district of Badakhshan in northeastern Afghanistan causing significant loss of life and widespread damage to homes and agriculture. Provincial authorities report that more than 350 Afghans have been killed, more are still missing and many families have been displaced.
Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, said, “On behalf of the UN humanitarian agencies, I wish to extend our condolences to all those families who have lost loved ones as a result of these landslides. There have now been more Afghans killed through natural disasters in the past seven days than all of 2013.”
The Afghan Government’s Provincial Disaster Management Committees (PDMC) is leading the coordination of operational response within Badakhshan, with support from humanitarian agencies.
Whilst search and rescue operations remain the immediate priority, assessments have been initiated to determine the full extent of the damage caused, as well as responding to the immediate needs of the population. With some areas still difficult to access, it may be some time yet until a clear picture of the full extent of the damage is known.
“The foremost priority at the moment is saving as many lives as possible of those still beneath the rubble,” Mr. Bowden said. “The UN system is fully engaged in the ongoing effort and is mobilizing more capacity and resources to bolster the response.”
The Northern Region of Afghanistan continues to be susceptible to recurring natural disasters, where seasonal rains and spring snow melt regularly result in life-threatening flash floods and landslides. The National Disaster Management Commission, supported by the international humanitarian community, regularly prepares contingency plans to help better prepare and respond to such disasters, as well as mitigating the impact.
“Given these ongoing risks and vulnerabilities, the critical importance of investing in disaster risk reduction and enhanced mitigation measures must remain a key priority in those communities most prone to hazards,” Mr. Bowden added.

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESS STATEMENT ON AFGHANISTAN ELECTIONS

 

The members of the Security Council welcome the holding of the presidential and provincial council elections on 5 April 2014 in Afghanistan. The members of the Council reiterate the importance of these historic elections to Afghanistan’s transition and democratic development. Members commend the participation and courage of the Afghan people to cast their ballot despite the threat and intimidation by the Taliban and other extremist and terrorist groups.

The members of the Security Council applaud the Afghan-led efforts to prepare for and hold these elections and recognize the important role of the Afghan electoral institutions, including the Independent Election Commission and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission, as well as the support provided by international partners.

The members of the Security Council welcome the level of public debate during the campaign, through the media and in communities, which has enabled the people of Afghanistan to discuss the issues that are important to them.

The members of the Security Council commend the performance of the Afghan National Security Forces in leading security arrangements for the elections, and call on the Afghan Government, with the assistance of the international community, to continue to address the threat to the security and stability of Afghanistan.

The members of the Security Council condemn the actions of those who attempted to disrupt the elections, such as terrorist attacks against civilians, including election personnel and candidates, as well as attacks against election infrastructure. The members of the Council condemn violent and terrorist activities by the Taliban, Al-Qaida and other violent and extremist groups and illegal armed groups aimed at destabilizing the situation in the country. The members of the Security Council recognize the sacrifices of the Afghan people and Afghan National Security Forces during the election period, and reiterate that no terrorist act can reverse the path towards Afghan-led peace, democracy and stability.

The members of the Security Council urge all stakeholders, including the candidates and their supporters, to be patient and respect the electoral institutions and processes. The members look forward to the announcement of the final results of the elections by the Independent Election Commission and look forward to working with the newly elected representatives of the people of Afghanistan.

UNAMA congratulates Afghans on elections

KABUL, 5 April 2014 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) congratulates the men and women of Afghanistan on the country’s Presidential and Provincial Council elections today. By their actions they have enabled Afghanistan’s first democratic transition from one elected President to another.

“Today was a good day for the future of a stable and unified Afghanistan. Ordinary Afghans turned out to vote in remarkable numbers, defying Taliban attacks and threats. Often in long queues and bad weather, voters patiently waited to exercise their basic human right to vote. They chose to determine the future direction of the country by political means and resolutely rejected the enemies of peace and democracy,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš.

“Afghan electoral and security institutions should be commended for their leadership in organizing and securing these elections on time and according to constitutional provisions,” Mr. Kubiš added.

Afghan electoral management bodies now have a critical responsibility to count the votes and resolve complaints fairly and efficiently, and release the results in a transparent and timely manner.

“I call on them to ensure their actions and decision-making are undertaken with the utmost integrity, impartiality and transparency,” Mr. Kubiš said.

The UN official also urged candidates and their supporters to show patience when problems arise by directing their complaints to the appropriate institutions under Afghanistan’s laws, and that the final decisions of these institutions be respected. He warned that premature announcements will only undermine this historic political transition process and its democratic, peaceful character.