Thursday, October 23, 2014

Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin  Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Third Committee Agenda Items 106 and 105:  Crime prevention and criminal justice, International Drug Control

October 9, 2014

NEW YORK

Madam Chair,

At the outset, please allow me to join the previous distinguished speakers to express my sincere congratulations to you upon your election as Chair. Let me assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation throughout the work of this committee.

I would also like to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for their comprehensive reports and their ongoing technical support of my country’s efforts to combat the threat of narcotics.

Madam Chair,

Three decades of conflict, war and violence in Afghanistan severely damaged the basic physical and economic infrastructures of the country and curtailed peaceful development. Transnational organized crime, terrorism, narcotics and corruption have undermined development, stability, governance and rule of law, thereby posing a serious threat to our society.

Narcotics have also had a deep societal impact in many countries. Drug dependency, particularly among the most vulnerable populations in Afghanistan, remains a major challenge for us and has increasingly threatened the health and stability of our society and drained communities of economic and human resources. Tragically, over the past decade, Afghanistan has experienced an increase in drug addicts. Drug use is prevalent across both rural and urban areas and affects women, men and youth.

However, while Afghanistan faces marked challenges, we are confident that the government will put political, security and socioeconomic prosperity in the country, and by extension to the wider region, at the center of its efforts.

Madam Chair,

The Government of Afghanistan, supported by the International Community, has made tremendous efforts and considerable achievements in countering narcotics over the past few years, making tangible steps of progress despite the significant challenges we face.  We have also adopted national legislation, undertaken a broader justice sector reform process to improve our institutions and relevant legal frameworks, and joined relevant regional and international instruments, protocols and conventions in line with our Constitution. Such progress must be accelerated.

In addition, Afghanistan has, as a state party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, acceded to the Protocol to Prevent, Support and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. Afghanistan also ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in August this year, as well as all 15 international counter terrorism instruments over the past few years. Our Government very recently ratified the Protocol amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Our most recent achievement, and a pertinent example of our efforts in the area of legislation, is the passage of the new Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Law. The law aims to prevent and prohibit the use of financial institutions or any economic activities for money laundering.  The financial Intelligence unit of Afghanistan, along with other relevant stakeholders and institutions in the justice and security sectors, play a very important role in the law’s implementation.

We also value poppy eradication as an important element of counter narcotics efforts. A new poppy eradication campaign started in March 2014 in Afghanistan, which aimed to meet higher targets than previous years.

Madam chair,

At the same time, drug control is ultimately a global issue; drug production in Afghanistan would not continue without the persistent problems of trafficking and consumption. The only way to truly address these issues is through genuine, comprehensive global and regional strategies to implement both drug-demand and drug-supply reduction measures.

Precursor control, which constitutes a key pillar of the Vienna Declaration, remains a top priority for my government. Precursors are key to processing opiates into heroin and morphine, with some 475 tons of acetic anhydrite used annually in Afghanistan, but these precursors originate outside the country and are trafficked into Afghanistan. We therefore once again emphasize the need for intensified joints efforts by all the Paris Pact partners in the fight against trafficking of precursors into Afghanistan.  For our part, our Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) continue to conduct operations to seize narcotic drugs and precursor chemicals and engage the Tactical Operations Center (ToC), Mobile Detection Teams (MDT) and the Counter Narcotics Training Academy (CNTA).

We believe that strengthened cooperation at both the regional and international level, particularly at an operational level including through information sharing, is necessary to effectively address the diversion and trafficking of precursors. We need to further strengthen the capacity of the existing cooperation frameworks such as the Regional Intelligence Working Group on Precursors and to continue to strengthen the CNPA.

Detecting and blocking financial flows linked to illicit traffic in opiates is another key pillar of the Vienna declaration and is of deep significance to efforts to counter the menace of narcotics. We strongly believe that there is a shortage of information and coordination regarding the financial component of the illicit traffic of opiates.  Yet the fact that a high percentage of opiate-related financial flows originates outside of Afghanistan requires intensified cooperation among all the Paris Pact partners in the area of financial investigations including through cooperation across the region and beyond.

Regional Cooperation remains key to addressing various dimensions of the narcotics problem. Different initiatives such as the UNODC’s Networking the Networks, the Border Liaison Offices (BLO), the Southern Trafficking Operational Plan (STOP), the Joint Triangle Cooperation at Northern Trafficking Route (Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan) (AKT), the Joint Planning Cells (JPC), including under the  Maritime Cooperation Framework between Iran and Pakistan,  need to be further strengthened. We also need to further the existing and potential cooperation opportunities in the area of counter narcotics that exist within the Istanbul Process.

We strongly believe that the new UNDAF 2015-2019, developed in coordination with the UN Country team in Kabul, includes narratives on the illicit drug economy under equitable economic development, justice and rule of law pillars.  We appreciate the great support of UNODC through its mandates, programme and expertise, which are central to the achievement of our goals.

In addition to international and regional efforts, sustainable progress in addressing the problem of narcotics in Afghanistan will require strengthening the Afghan National Security Force’s capacity and providing alternative livelihoods for Afghan farmers.

Distinguished friends and colleagues,

I once again acknowledge the shared responsibilities both on the topics of narcotics and corruption as embedded in the UN Conventions, and before I conclude I would like to emphasize that the complex and multifaceted problem of drugs is unresolved and requires more effective cooperation, as highlighted in the UNODC 2013 Afghan Opium Survey and the 2012 Afghanistan Drug report.  I would also like to reiterate the commitment of the people and the Government of Afghanistan to the fight against narcotics, and offer a special thanks to the UNODC Afghanistan Program for its technical support. We look forward to continued engagement and cooperation with our regional and international partners to address this ongoing threat.

 

Thank you.

Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Sixth Committee Meeting on Measures to Eliminate Terrorism

 

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

At the outset let me join other delegations in congratulating you on your election as Chair of the Sixth Committee.  My congratulations also go to the other members of the Bureau. We look forward to working closely with you and we assure you of our full support and cooperation.

My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

As a country that continues to be victimized daily by terrorism, Afghanistan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Over the past decade, Afghanistan has been at the battlefront of the global counter terrorism campaign. In the war against international terrorism, our people have suffered tremendously and have made huge sacrifices in terms of human and material losses. The death toll amounts to hundreds of thousands of people, significant portion of whom are  women and children.  Many more have been maimed and wounded. We have lost thousands of our soldiers and officers in our struggle against terrorism. In the first six months of this year alone we lost around 3000 members of our security forces, who put their lives at risk to protect their people and to eliminate this scourge.

In the past six months, Taliban, terrorists and extremist groups took advantage of the protracted political and electoral crisis and surrounding uncertainty to launch major assaults around the country, using forces several hundred strong in “swarm attacks” to overwhelm district administrative centers and security checkpoints.  This resulted in considerable casualties among civilians and security personnel. The use of indiscriminate attacks such as explosive weapons in residential and populated areas, suicide attacks, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by terrorists and insurgent groups as well as cross border shelling have made this year one of the deadliest years for the Afghan people since 2001.

Nevertheless, in our pursuit of lasting peace, our counter-terrorism efforts will continue unabated and our commitment to defeating this scourge, nationally and internationally, is as strong as ever. To this end, our national army and police are on the front lines of all counter terrorism operations throughout the country. Scores of terrorists and enemy combatants have been killed or captured. Moreover, hundreds of terrorist plots have been averted in various parts of the country.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan is of the belief that militancy and extremism will never serve the long-term interests of any country. In this regard, my government continues to engage its neighbours to promote regional cooperation. We express our concern about the rise and evolving trends of violent acts in our region and strongly support a comprehensive approach in addressing these threats.

With unwavering commitment in fighting international terrorism, we continue to adjust our national counter-terrorism legislation to correspond with international legal frameworks to combat terrorism. In this regard, our National Assembly approved a number of laws. This included laws towards combating the financing of terrorism and money laundering. We also continue to work towards the full implementation of the 13 international conventions and protocols on terrorism, to which Afghanistan is a party.

Our region is particularly prone to terrorism. The government of Afghanistan sees regional cooperation as necessary to root out terrorism in our part of the world. In this regard, we are working closely with our immediate and distant neighbours, bilaterally, trilaterally and through other initiatives, such as the Istanbul Process as part of our comprehensive approach in tackling this menace.

Strengthening border cooperation, inter-agency coordination and most importantly building confidence and trust among our neighbours and countries in the region is of outmost importance to our shared efforts in defeating terrorism. Moreover, regional organizations play an important role in the fulfilling our aims in this regard.

We hope to see concrete efforts towards the elimination of terrorist sanctuaries and support centres located outside Afghanistan, which represent the main source of the violence and terror in our country.

Mr. Chairman,

Increasing heinous terrorist attacks and the evolving nature of this menace in different parts of the world, once again attests to the necessity of an international, comprehensive approach in fighting such a fundamental threat to international peace and security. As the Secretary-General mentioned in his briefing before the Security Council on 24 September, “Missiles may kill terrorists. But good governance kills terrorism.” Promoting good governance, socio- economic development, respect for human rights and strengthening regional cooperation are the essential elements of a holistic approach in this fight.

The continued use of the internet and communications technology by terrorists and their supporters for recruitment, financing, training and inciting followers to commit acts of terrorism, to spread propaganda, and to gather and disseminate information for terrorist purposes is an issue of great concern. We call for integrated cooperation by international community to address this challenge and we stress the need for further capacity building efforts focused on legal and practical aspects in order to limit use of internet and communications technology by terrorist organizations.

We welcome the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution 2178 on Foreign Terrorist Fighters, which Afghanistan co-sponsored. The increasing numbers of Foreign Terrorists Fighters travelling abroad to join extremist groups is of grave concern.  The Afghan people suffered from the threat of Foreign Terrorist Fighters immensely. Hence, the implementation of the resolution will benefit us in our shared struggle against this phenomenon. We emphasize the need for further cooperation regionally and internationally to address the issue of Foreign Terrorism Fighters.

I also welcome the successful Fourth Biennial Review Process of the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and commend Turkey for its hard work in facilitating the process. The adoption of the text by consensus represents once again the global condemnation of terrorist acts in all their forms and manifestations while remaining aware of its evolving aspects. While the strategy provides guidance through its fourth pillar, we believe that the Strategy should be implemented in a balanced manner, with due consideration to all 4 pillars.

We recognize the central role of the UN and relevant UN agencies in coordinating the efforts of international community in countering terrorism and those of Global Counter Terrorism Forum in supporting member states in their fight against terrorism. We express our firm support for these efforts, which are aimed at the further implementation of the UN counter terrorism framework.  In conclusion, Mr Chairman, we echo the call of other speakers in highlighting the need to achieve the early conclusion of a Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism.

 

I thank you.

 

Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the General Debate of the Second Committee of the 69th Session of the General Assembly

 Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to congratulate Your Excellency on your well-deserved election as Chair of this committee and the election of your highly competent Bureau members. I would like to assure you of my delegations’ full support and cooperation during the discussions of the 2nd Committee.

I also wish to commend your predecessor for his tireless efforts and successful leadership of the Second Committee during the Sixty-eighth session.

My delegation associates itself with the statements made yesterday by the distinguished Permanent Representatives of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Benin on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Least Developed Countries, respectively.

Mr. Chairman,

It is evident the Second Committee begins this session facing a great deal of new and emerging threats and challenges. Some of these challenges, such as poverty eradication, climate change, economic crises, energy crises and food crises, have been addressed in this committee for many years. Overcoming these challenges requires the collaboration of all Member States. However, at the same time we must focus on emerging challenges like the Ebola outbreak, which claims lives every day. I would like to express my deepest sorrow and sympathy to the delegations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for the loss of thousands of people. This epidemic requires urgent collective action by the international community to stop the transmission.

Mr. Chairman,

Our greatest task during this session is going to be the formulation of the new post-2015 development agenda and the final push for the conclusion of the MDGs. There are a number of highly important events which are going to take place, such as the 20th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Lima, the Second Conference of the UN on LLDCs in Vienna, and the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan.

We are hopeful that the outcome of these conferences will bring real changes to the social and economic statuses of LDCs and LLDCs and enable us to realize our common desires for a prosperous future.

Mr. Chairman,

As we approach are approaching the deadline for MDGs, we must accelerate global efforts to fulfill our commitments and achieve the MDGs.

While we have succeeded in achieving many aspects of the MDGs, there are still challenges to be addressed and areas that need new attention and focus. In considering these points, special focus should be given to off-track MDGs in countries that lag behind the 2015 deadline due to their special needs and challenges. This will not be feasible without international partnership. In this regard, I would like to commend the Secretary General’s Report which reflects the concerns of countries in special situations.

Mr. Chairman,

As a vulnerable Member State of LDCs and LLDCs, I would like to highlight those issues which most concern my country:

  • As a country highly dependent on aid, we recognize the great importance of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to support our efforts for reaching sustainable economic growth. In this regard, I would like to call on developed countries to honour their commitments in terms of mobilizing the ODA to the LDCs. I wish to commend the Sixth High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development which was held in October last year. The fruitful insights of this meeting can contribute significantly to the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda.
  • We recognize that technology is a key mean of implementation of the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda. The ongoing efforts for establishing this mechanism are important to the success of our future development goals.
  • Financing for development is a crucial factor in achieving sustainable development goals. In this regard, we attach great importance to the outcome of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa in July 2015.
  • The Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries, to be held in November, is a highly important event. We expect the new program of action for LLDCs for the next decade to comprehensively and practically address the special needs and challenges of the LLDCs and to strengthen the genuine partnership among LLDCs and transit countries as well as development partners.
  • I would like to express our gratitude to the Open Working Group on SDGs for its comprehensive report. We are of the view that this report is used as the basis for integration of the SDGs into the economic development agenda beyond 2015. We would also like to express our appreciation to the President of the 68th General Assembly for convening the High-Level Stock Taking Event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda on 11 and 12 September.
  • While we embark on the intergovernmental negotiations for crafting the Post-2015 development agenda, it is our strong belief and expectation that the principles as well as the outcomes and recommendations of Rio+20, the Istanbul Programme of Action for LDCs, the Almaty Programme of Action, the Barbados Programme of Action and the SIDS conference guide our deliberations on the Post-2015 Agenda. The new development agenda should be ambitious, transformative, and universal in nature and focus on eradicating poverty. It should promote sustained economic growth and protect the future of the planet while responding to the complexities, needs and capacities of individual countries and regions. Additionally, it should be based on the principle of differential and preferential treatment for LDCs.

  • I would like to welcome the first meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development which was held under auspices of the ECOSOC. I hope this forum can serve as a strong platform for addressing the gaps and shortcomings in sustainable development and build on the progress made so far.

  • I would like to emphasize the importance of South-South and Triangular cooperation as an essential factor to economic growth and sustainable development and stress the necessity of regional and economic integration and cooperation.

  • As a member of the LDCs we cannot ignore our vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters. In this regard we expect that the 20th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima and the upcoming conference in Paris result in a legally binding agreement to address the vulnerabilities of LDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

Although Afghanistan began to pursue its MDGs almost half a decade later than other Member States, extending our deadline to 2020, Afghanistan is committed to achieving these goals. Afghanistan’s National Development Strategy (ANDS) is greatly defined by the MDGs and the indicators of MDGs are widely aligned with Afghanistan’s National Priority Programs (NPPs) under the ANDS. Moreover, Afghanistan’s Transformation Decade (2015-2025) coincides with the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda. Afghanistan will remain committed to developing strategies and policies to integrate our national development agenda with the UN post-2015 development agenda.

It is worth mentioning that security and instability are the biggest challenges for achieving sustained economic growth and development. Therefore, as a country combating terrorism and instability, Afghanistan added a ninth goal on enhancing security.

According to the 2013 Afghanistan MDGs Report, progress is already measurable and some goals have been met as early as 2010 with other indicators well on track towards their targets.

In conclusion, we would like to convey our wish to engage in fruitful and practical discussions during this session, along with our determination to reach measurable and concrete decisions on the goals of the 2nd committee.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.