Thursday, November 26, 2015

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the General Debate of the Third Committee

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, allow me to thank the Secretary General for his comprehensive report on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which is a helpful prelude to this important debate.

Today’s debate is particularly relevant to my country, Afghanistan.  Just 12 years ago, women in Afghanistan were prohibited from going to school, they were confined to their homes, and they were not allowed a voice in the public sphere.  Yet since 2001, the government has been fully committed to enabling women to regain their historic roles as proactive citizens in Afghan society.

Mr. Chairman,

We have made tremendous progress since the collapse of the Taliban. In 2001, 5000 girls were enrolled in school in Afghanistan.  Now around 3 million girls are enrolled in schools across the country. Since 2001, the number of female lecturers in Afghanistan’s universities has increased by 15 percent; the number of female teachers in schools has increased 31 percent; and women’s presence in different levels of government offices has increased up to 25 percent.

Equality of men and women is enshrined in our constitution, and the advancement of women is marked as the responsibility of the state.   Afghanistan is in the top 30 countries of the world with the highest representation of women in the Parliament. These developments towards greater empowerment of women are among our proudest achievements of the past 12 years.

Mr. Chairman,

My government is committed to gender equality and the empowerment of all Afghan women. Their role and participation in the country’s development and political institutions is essential to Afghanistan’s future.  Our national policies exemplify this commitment: gender is a central component of Afghanistan’s National Development Strategy (ANDS), which affirms equality in all aspects for women.  The ANDS includes specific benchmarks for advancing gender equality including increased participation of women in state and non-state activities and the provision of legal privileges for women.

The National Action Plan for Women in Afghanistan (NAPWA) is the main vehicle for government implementation of gender commitments in the Afghan National Development Strategy, the Constitution, the MDGs, the Afghanistan compact and other national and international policy instruments on women.  Through my country’s transformation decade (2015-2025), NAPWA will pursue a number of ambitious objectives including promoting women’s participation in government entities, reducing illiteracy, ensuring equal pay for equal work, lowering maternal mortality, and providing greater economic opportunities to women.

In addition, Afghanistan is pursuing the vigorous implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 to ensure that women are meaningfully represented in peace, security, and conflict resolution efforts.  In this regard, women continue to play a role in Afghan peace talks, including through participation in the High Peace Council.  Women are also among the ranks of security and police forces in the country.

I gratefully note the International Community’s tremendous support of women’s empowerment in Afghanistan, and of our plans towards women’s advancement.  This support has been consistent over the past twelve years, and is clearly demonstrated by the outcome document of the Tokyo Conference of July 2012, bilateral and multilateral agreements, and support through various programs and donor agencies.

Mr. Chairman,

The challenges we face in our endeavours towards the advancement of women in the country are towering.  Numerous realities of our country prevent women from realizing full equality including poverty, low levels of education, and unfamiliarity with related laws in remote and rural areas. Most significantly, women are amongst the most vulnerable as a result of three decades of war and insecurity.

We note with profound regret the killings and brutality against many women and girls including women activists, NGO workers, police officers and even a member of the Parliament.  Anti-government elements target these brave women who are working towards the betterment of my country.  Let me emphasize that violence against women is an intolerable breach of human rights, and our government condemns it absolutely. For this reason, peace and reconciliation is crucial for Afghan women and girls to further consolidate achievements made for their rights over the past several years.

Mr. Chairman,

In the lead up to presidential and provincial elections, women are playing important roles in the political life of the country, in parliament, in civil society, and in the upcoming elections.

Last week an Independent Election Commission spokesman noted that 237 women had submitted their names for provincial elections.  There are currently 8 female vice presidential candidates and one presidential candidate.

In closing, I want to emphasize how far my country has come since the dark days of the 1990s, and how many rights we’ve won for women since.  We must see our progress in this perspective.  We thank the international community for their continued support of our efforts for the women of our country and their rights. For our part, we remain fundamentally committed to the advancement of women’s rights, and we will work to ensure the full empowerment of women.


Thank you.

“The rule of law at the national and international levels”

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Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin  Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations  At the Sixth Committee on Agenda Item: 85 “The rule of law at the national and international levels.”

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).  We are thankful to the Secretary General for his report contained in A/68/213.  It offers a good insight on progress and challenges of the past year in strengthening the rule of law, nationally and internationally.

My delegation is pleased that the rule of law remains high on agenda of the United Nations. Last year’s high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the rule of law was a milestone event, adding new impetus to this very important topic.  Therein, we reaffirmed that the rule of law is a core-principle, by which a stable and prosperous international landscape will be realized.

We also welcome last month’s ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), held on the 27th of September, on this topic.

Mr. Chairman,

Just twelve years ago, Afghanistan was a country, decimated in all regards.  More than two-decades of strife and conflict left our State institutions in shambles, and our social fabric in destruction.  As such, the rule of law was virtually non-existent.  In the past 12 years, we have embarked on a successful journey towards state-building and stabilization. This endeavour was founded on the goal of consolidating the rule of law in the country.  Through this process, we have registered important progress towards a society in which the rule of law is taking root.

The link between the rule of law, democracy, security and human rights is undeniable.  In a relatively short period of time, we have consolidated democratic values in our society and polity.  The adoption of constitution in 2004 has enabled our citizens to enjoy unprecedented rights.  From the freedom of press, to the right to assembly and political expression, it guarantees these fundamental freedoms, and thus promotes the rule of law.

Moreover, despite a difficult security environment, we held consecutive presidential, parliamentary and provincial council elections, in which our people actively took part, and determined their leader.

We are now busily engaged in preparations for our next presidential elections this coming April, which will further strengthen our democratic order. We have put in place a strong electoral framework, to ensure an electoral process that is free, fair, credible, transparent, and whose outcome is embraced by the vast majority of our citizens.

In the area of security, we concluded our security sector reform (SSR), culminating in the formation of a national army and police. Today, our securities forces number 350,000 strong; and are operating with increased professionalism and capability. Through the Transition Process, they have taken charge of security in all parts of Afghanistan.  In this regard, we are thankful to our international friends and partners for their commitment and support.

In terms of governance, we are undergoing a major reform of our public administration sector, aimed at a transparent and accountable administration, where genuine service is rewarded, and illegal activity is held to account.  In this regard, we are working diligently to meet the commitments we made in the context of the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework (TMAF), adopted in Tokyo in July 2012.

Implementation at the national level of commitments made under conventions and protocols is a key component of advancing the rule of law at the international level.  For our part, we are working to strengthen national legislation and capacities in our institutions and agencies, such as the Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court for timely implementation.

Mr. Chairman,

The international justice system plays a crucial role in furthering the rule of law at the international level. As the report of Secretary General highlights, it also represents an important mechanism to member-states for the peaceful settlement of disputes. In this respect, attach great value to the important work undertaken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to promote international justice, and the rule of law at the international level.

We welcome recent measures for increased coordination and coherence in the UN’s rule of law based activities.

The establishment of a three-tier system, and the designation of the Department of Peace-keeping Operations (DPKO), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for the police, justice and corrections matters will better enable the UN to support post-conflict States in need of technical assistance.  We welcome the joint planning and assessment mission of the global focal point to Afghanistan, and look forward to close collaboration in the forward. In this vein, we join previous speakers in emphasizing adherence to the principle of national ownership.

Mr. Chairman,

To conclude, I wish to reiterate Afghanistan’s firm commitment to advancing the rule of law at the national and international levels.

I Thank You.

H.E. Zalmai Rassoul, addresses the general debate of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly.

H.E. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, addresses the general debate of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly.

H.E. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, addresses the general debate of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly.