Monday, December 22, 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.”

 

 

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.

 

Renowned Intellectual Noam Chomsky Speaks on Palestinian Rights at the United Nations

On 14 October, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People invited Professor Noam Chomsky, leading American philosopher and political activist, to deliver a lecture at the United Nations as part of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. H.E. Ambassador Fode Seck of Senegal, Chair of the Committee for the Exercise of Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, opened the meeting and then gave the floor to Amy Goodman of the independent news program Democracy Now.  Ms. Goodman moderated the audience question and answer session that followed and introduced the Professor.  Dr. Chomsky focused his remarks on the Palestinian struggle for statehood and the related responses of the international community.

 

Speaking specifically on the role of the United Nations, Dr. Chomsky suggested that the organisation could recognize the State of Palestine, noting that 138 Member States did so in the General Assembly in November 2012 and that members of the Swedish and British parliaments recently voted in favour of doing the same.

 

Taking the floor in the discussion that followed, H.E. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, noted that the Palestinian People’s determination to continue the struggle. “Our people are dead determined that we do not want to stay in Bantustans in apartheid-style,” he said.

 

Before the meeting, Dr. Chomsky participated in a special briefing before the press. H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, delivered the opening statement at the briefing.  “Professor Chomsky is undoubtedly one of the most prominent critical thinkers of our time,” Ambassador Tanin said in his introductory remarks. “His extensive study and work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past 40 years could not be more relevant and pertinent than at this particular juncture.” A question and answer session followed the briefing, during which a number of journalists raised questions answered by Professor Chomsky.