Sunday, October 26, 2014

H.E. Dr. Rangin Dâdfar Spantâ, addresses the General Assembly

STATEMENT OF H.E. Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the General Debate
of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Statement

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

First, let me welcome you, Mr. President, and congratulate you on assuming the Presidency of the 64th Session of the General Assembly. Afghanistan looks forward to working with you over the next year, and to strengthening the international responses to the crises facing us today.

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H.E. Dr. Rangin Dâdfar Spantâ, addresses the General Assembly

Mr. President,
Since its inception, the UN has been instrumental in addressing world’s challenges, particularly the global south. But significant challenges remain unresolved. The growing gap in opportunities and prosperity between and among nations reminds us that we are still far away from meeting the ideals and objectives of the UN charter in creating a just and secure world.
Strengthening and restructuring of the UN agencies remain pivotal in closing the gap between the objectives of the charter and the realities of the world. The UN is not a forum for lip service. It must embody the ideals of the charter by providing political and moral direction and leadership. n our increasingly interdependent world and the multi-laterally-oriented international system, the UN must assume greater responsibility in finding collective solutions to our challenges. The world, particularly the developing nations are faced with the threats of poverty, underdevelopment, environmental degradation, extremism, fundamentalism, terrorism, culturally-based racism, spread of weapons of mass destruction and arms race.
Rather than just managing and reacting to problems, the UN must find ways to address the structural causes of world’s problems and conflicts. To these ends, closer cooperation between the UN, the international criminal court, the International Financial Organizations and global civil society is vital in moving towards a more just and equitable relations among and between the nations.
Our efforts to address the new challenges must be accompanied by redoubling our commitment for resolving the remaining historical conflicts. Chief among them is the middle-east peace process. Afghanistan reiterates its call for the full implementation of UN Resolutions and other regional initiatives for bringing an end to the suffering of Palestinian nation and creating a safe region for all middle-eastern nations.
Finding a just and working solution to the middle-east peace process will also deny terrorists a potent recruiting tool. This will also remove a significant obstacle towards mutual understanding and cooperation between the Islamic world and the West.

Mr. President,
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Islamic world faces a number of important internal and external questions and issues. Addressing these issues and reviving the prominent role of Muslims in contributing to humanity’s progress and civilization can only be attained if we, as members of the Islamic world, collectively confront current intellectual stagnation that many of us suffer. As with the golden era of Islamic history, intellectual freedom and creativity must be elevated to our highest social and political priorities. The Islamic world is in urgent need of an intellectual renaissance.
Islamophobia and equating Muslims to a violent minority is another issue that calls upon all of us, particularly the western nations, to seek effective ways to confront them. As with racially-motivated racism and discrimination, culturally-based racism must also be rejected and confronted.

H.E. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan addresses the general debate of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly.|

H.E. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan addresses the general debate of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly.

Mr. President,
Let me now turn to the situation in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the negative coverage of the situation in Afghanistan by international media has overshadowed the many positive trends and developments achieved since the collapse of the Taliban’s regime. Alongside terrorism, drugs, weak state institutions and corruption, a new Afghanistan is emerging. This Afghanistan comprises our emerging democracy, rising state institutions, nascent civil society, growing private sector and strong international solidarity.
I can refer to many examples about this Afghanistan. In the course of last 8 years, the percentage of access to basic health services has risen from 9% in 2001 to present 85%. The number of students had grown from one million only boy students in 2001 to nearly 7 million boys and girls in 2008. In 2001, there were only 4000 students in universities, whereas now more than 75000 are enrolled in 22 universities. The armies of private militia in late 2001 have been replaced by a nearly 200000 strong national security forces. Compared with one state Radio and a couple of newspapers during the Taliban, Afghanistan now has over 700 media outlets, who are often critical of the government.
In late 2001, only a handful had access to internet across Afghanistan, but today, we have one million users. Our average GDP per capita has grown from $US 185 in 2001 to $US 485 in 2008.
The generous support and sacrifices of the international community were vital in our joint and proud achievements in Afghanistan, for which we remain grateful.

Mr. President,
The August presidential and provincial elections demonstrated the many positive changes. It was the first time in modern history of Afghanistan, that the Afghan institutions were tasked with organizing and holding a nationwide election. Taking into account the socio-historical realities of Afghanistan, we passed this national test successfully. In addition to be our first experience, we were faced with merciless enemies who did their utmost to disrupt and derail the process by terrorizing the Afghan voters.
By braving Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups, Afghan voters demonstrated their determination and desire to have a modern, moderate and democratic political system. The electoral campaigns were conducted in a democratic spirit. The candidates transcended ethnic and religious lines. There was not major physical violence between the candidates’ supporters. The Independent Election Commission conducted successfully the voter-registration process, voting and counting. The Afghan media played a crucial role in educating and mobilizing the voters. Our national security forces did an excellent job in providing security prior and during the elections with the full coordination and cooperation with our international partners. On Election Day, we lost a number of our security forces, Afghan civilians as well as members of the International Security Assistance Forces to terrorist attacks.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the UN-supported Election Complaint Commission (ECC) are working hard on counting votes and addressing the complaints.
As with any emerging democracy, undoubtedly, there were cases of irregularities. But one should not assess a terrorist-inflicted nascent democracy with the criteria of centuries-old stable and prosperous democracies. This is not a call to condone fraud and irregularities. But in passing judgment, we should be conscious of the context, the process and the full picture, rather than only one aspect or issue.

In due course, the Independent Elections Commission and the Election Complain Commission will announce and certify the final results of the elections. For the sake of stability and consolidation of our nascent democratic institutions and process, it is imperative by all of us to respect and support their decision. Continuing delegitimizing efforts to undermine the integrity of the process and our institutions will certainly result in worsening the situation not only for Afghanistan but also for the international community.

Mr. President,
Afghanistan still faces significant challenges. Chief of them is terrorism, which enjoys safe haven and institutional support beyond our borders. As long as the terrorism infrastructure and sanctuaries, including the leadership of the Taliban remains protected, Afghanistan, the region and the world will be at the mercy of terrorists and their totalitarian ideology and objectives. Narcotic drugs, weak state institutions, corruption and socio-economic challenges such as poverty and unemployment constitute our other challenges.

Only by pursuing a comprehensive strategy, adequate resources, effective implementation and more importantly strategic patience and steadfastness, we can address our interconnected challenges in Afghanistan and the region. The main pillars of such a comprehensive strategy are security, good governance, economic development, regional cooperation and international solidarity.

Afghanistan fully endorses Pres. Obama’s new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the new assessment by Gen MackCrystal, particularly, their emphasis on the need for a comprehensive and long-term strategy.

Mr. President,
The forthcoming international conference on Afghanistan will be an opportunity for Afghanistan and our international partners to review and reiterate our mutual commitment and determination for addressing Afghanistan’s remaining challenges. It must renew the sense of partnership and cooperation between Afghanistan and the international community. It must aim to build upon our many joint achievements as well as addressing our mutual shortcomings and deficiencies. Our renewed compact with the international community will be complemented by the new compact between the Afghan government and the Afghan nation.

What the Afghan nation expects and deserves from a renewed partnership with the international community is the reassurance of long-term commitment and solidarity. They are rightly fearful of being abandoned once again to lawlessness, extremism, and external interference. Abandoning the Afghan nation who has endured years of suffering and pain will undermine the spirit of collective cooperation and the ideals of the UN. It will also overshadow the moral credibility of those who failed to honor their promise and commitment to Afghans for many generations to come. Furthermore, it will embolden extremists in the region and beyond.
On its part, the Afghan Government is fully committed and determined to assume the lead responsibilities in providing leadership for the full realization of the aspiration of Afghan citizens and its commitment to the international community. The principles of good governance, mutual accountability and regional cooperation are of highest priority. There must be zero-tolerance for any drug-related activities and corruption by both the Afghan Government and our international partners.

Mr. President,
I have full confidence that with the full support and commitment of the family of nations, Afghanistan will be able to overcome the legacies of decades of violence and suffering. We will restore our historic position as a model of cooperation of different cultures and a regional crossroads and hub for trade, transit, transportation and tourism.

I thank you.

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Resumed Session of the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the Resumed Session of the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA
8-12 September, 2009

Mr. President,
Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for giving me the floor. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak again about UNDP’s work in Afghanistan. My government and the people of my country will always be extremely grateful for the central role of UNDP in promoting social and economic development. UNDP is Afghanistan’s largest development partner. It has been active in Afghanistan for decades, and since the fall of the Taliban it has provided indispensable programmes encouraging disarmament, sustainable livelihoods, and governance. Many of the countries here today provide resources for these and other essential UNDP programmes. Together, all of us have an enormous stake in ensuring that the work of UNDP is efficient, effective, and aligned with national development goals and overall UN policy.

Mr. President,

Since our last meeting in May we have taken important steps towards those goals. I would like to thank UNDP for working with us to address our concerns. The revised UNDP Country Programme on the table today is a more focused, more descriptive document that will provide a strong foundation for UNDP’s work in Afghanistan over the next three years.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan presents an incredibly complex set of challenges, with more than 60 donor countries active, more than a hundred multinational aid organizations, 20 UN agencies and thousands of smaller NGOs, plus numerous Afghan ministries. This multiplicity of actors makes coordination a necessity, and also one of our greatest challenges. As we all recognize, the only way to find success in Afghanistan is with a unified approach between and among development, humanitarian, political and military actors. We must align our priorities under a single set of national goals and strategies, such as the ANDS and the recently-signed UNDAF. And we must encourage open and productive communication among stakeholders. Though many of these conversations occur in Kabul, here in New York we should provide active support to bolster our collective efforts.

Mr. President,

Over the past months, my delegation has sought to create stronger partnerships between Afghanistan, UNDP and donor countries with the aim of fostering closer coordination and an improved consultative process both here in New York and among our counterparts in Kabul. This Country Programme document provided the catalyst for this process, but it should not end here. It is crucial that we maintain, and further strengthen, these partnerships in the future to assist in the effective implementation of this Country Programme, and to promote constructive work between UNDP and other actors in Afghanistan under the guidance of UNAMA and internationally-agreed policy priorities. My delegation here in New York and my colleagues in Kabul are ready and willing to engage in this endeavor. We have a responsibility to ensure that UNDP’s crucial work in Afghanistan has the support and attention it deserves.

I thank you, Mr. President.

“Women and Peace and Security”

Statement of H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
At the Security Council open debate on
“Women and Peace and Security”

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Statement

Mr. President,

First, allow me to congratulate you for assuming the Presidency of the Council for the month of August, and thank you for convening the debate on this crucial topic. I would also like to welcome the report of the Secretary-General on sexual violence in situations of armed conflict, which reflects both the appalling scope and devastating effects of this issue.

Mr. President,
Afghanistan remains fully dedicated to the implementation of Security Council resolutions 1325 and 1820 on the rights of women in conflict situations. It has become clear that the lack of a stable, secure state leads often to persistent violations of human rights, particularly women’s rights. Insecurity allows extremism to flourish, and makes it extremely difficult for governments and international organizations to provide even basic services to their citizens. Lack of resources and capacity limits the ability of governments to effectively enforce protective legislative and judicial mechanisms. Without the equal involvement of half of our populations in our civil societies, economies, and political systems, our nations are deeply incapacitated, and our children, economies, and even the stability of our countries suffer.

Mr. President,
Only eight years ago, under the brutal Taliban regime, Afghanistan had no provisions for the protection of women and human rights; but despite ongoing difficulties, we have made significant progress, particularly in education and healthcare. Women’s issues are taken into account at each stage of the national stabilization process and in national strategies like the ANDS. Afghanistan has the legal and judicial mechanisms in place to achieve success. We are also party to the relevant international mechanisms, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). However, the ongoing support of the international community for Afghan efforts is absolutely necessary, both to encourage our citizens’ bottom-up efforts towards success and to sustain the government’s top-down labors. We have emerged from the darkness of a long national nightmare, but we still have more work to do.

Mr. President,
In the past thirty years, Afghans have experienced violence on an almost unprecedented scale. Persistent poverty and other symptoms of conflict have disproportionately affected women. And for the first time in the 1990s, during a bloody internecine war, physical and psychological violence was accompanied by horrendous acts of sexual abuse. The scars of these abuses continue to be seen and felt today.

Women in Afghanistan still face not just sexual violence, but sexual discrimination and oppression caused and exacerbated by enduring insecurity and the terrorist activities of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. In some particularly unstable parts of the country, where the Taliban are still active or where the rule of law is not yet strong, women attempting to work or hold office face abuse, threats, and physical attacks. Other women have their rights curtailed, and are forced into marriage and other exploitative situations. Even in areas free of the Taliban threat, a creeping Talibanisation promotes an un-Islamic, un-Afghan culture that denies women’s basic rights.

Mr. President,
Afghanistan supports the Secretary-General’s analysis that a central step towards preventing violence against women is to combat gender discrimination, and to give women a larger role in political and decision-making processes. Afghanistan’s experience shows that there is no better advocate for women’s rights than women themselves, and so we must do everything we can to help them be heard.

In the upcoming presidential and provincial elections, the participation of women will be crucial to success. We have had some praiseworthy victories: millions of women have registered to vote, and educational programs run by the Government, UNFPA, and UNAMA educate women about the voting process and their rights and opportunities as citizens. Our Constitution guarantees women at least 25% of seats in provincial councils, and 27% of seats in Parliament, and women have served as governors and in the Cabinet. A growing number of women have registered as candidates: a record-breaking 328 women are running for provincial councils, and 2 women are among the presidential candidates.
Nonetheless, Mr. President,
Some women parliamentarians have suggested that security concerns may prevent them from presenting themselves in the upcoming 2010 parliamentary elections. Even if the governmental mechanisms are in place to ensure equality, women are silenced within a culture of shame, and even more do not demand their rights due to a lack of awareness or support. My Government will continue to enlist cultural, political, and religious leaders to encourage a proper understanding of women’s Islamic and political rights, and to explicitly and publicly condemn all violence against women and girls; impunity only reinforces patterns of violence.

Mr. President,
Afghan women need the support and protection of the UN, the international community and the government of Afghanistan as they work to transform society. The role of the UN and international community in this struggle should be to support the Government of Afghanistan with resources, knowledge, policy guidance, and capacity-building. Led by this Council, we should also encourage a moral and legal awareness of women’s rights both locally and in multilateral forums, and keep violence against women at the top of the international agenda. With this support, we can work to strengthen judicial mechanisms and decrease reliance on local, ad hoc justice systems that frequently disadvantage women. We can increase the number of women in the Afghan National Police and have more units dedicated to domestic violence. We can also do more to combat extremism and educate the public about the rights of women by publicizing and enforcing international and Islamic human rights norms.

Mr. President,
The women of Afghanistan continue to suffer from violence. However, social transformation, like political stabilization and economic development, is a gradual process that requires security and continuity. We have learned that the surest way to improve the situation of women is to provide them education, protection, and support, and to give them a platform from which to speak for themselves. My Government remains fully committed to this cause.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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