Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Rule of Law at the National and International Levels in the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly

Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Meeting on Agenda Item: 83 The Rule of Law at the National and International Levels in the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

We wish to thank the Secretary General for his report “Strengthening and Coordinating United Nations rule of law activities,” – contained in document A/67/296.  My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by the Islamic Republic of Iran, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

The undeniable fact remains that the rule of law is the fundamental basis for a stable and harmonious world order, where mankind as a whole is able to benefit from peace, security, development, social progress and prosperity. This underscores the obvious – that in strengthening the rule of law, nationally, and internationally, we have a shared interest and collective responsibility.

As in past sessions, our discussion exemplifies that the UN attaches high priority to the agenda item under our consideration.  In this context, we commend the UN’s important role in the overall effort to strengthen the rule of law, both at the national and international levels.  From constitution making, to helping States reform their national legal systems, and build capacity in their justice and security institutions, the UN is playing a key role in enabling countries to achieve stable and harmonious societies, governed by the rule of law.

Mr. Chairman,

Based on our own difficult past, characterized by decades-long conflict and strife, which left our state-institutions devastated and in shambles, Afghanistan is keenly aware of both the importance of, and challenges associated with, consolidating the rule of law.  It was only eleven years ago when we began our state-building efforts, with the support of the international community. Ever since, the rule of law has been at the core of strategy to restore a lasting peace and stability, and to enable Afghans to take full charge of meeting their security, governance and development needs.

We have taken a wide range of measures to strengthen governance, and the rule of law at both the national and sub-national levels.  Among them include the promulgation of a constitution, promoting and protecting the rights of all citizens; a comprehensive overhaul of our national legal framework; as well as action plans to build capacity in our state-institutions.

In the area of security, we successfully implemented our security sector reform (SSR), leading to the formation of a national army and police, representative of the national character of our society.  As we speak, Afghan national security forces are increasingly taking charge of combat operations throughout the country, with the overall aim to achieve full security responsibility by end of 2014.  Taking this opportunity, we wish to mention the important support provided by the international community, including partner countries, and the United Nations, UNDP in particular, to our SSR initiative.

Mr. Chairman,

Defeating corruption and achieving a sound transparent and efficient administration which enjoys the full trust and confidence of the Afghan people continues to be pursued as a matter of high priority. This past July President Karzai issued a Decree, instructing all Ministries, agencies and independent departments to implement comprehensive measures, including reforms, to defeat corruption and enhance transparency.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan stands in full support of the outcome of the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law, which convened on the 24 of September, last month. As a first of its kind, the historic gathering brought together member-states, non-governmental organizations, and civil society to map-out the way forward in the rule of law agenda.  The onus is on all of us now to translate political commitments to reality.

The High-Level Meeting’s Declaration underscores the importance of national ownership in the rule of law’s activities. In this connection, we emphasize that international support should be aligned with the respective assistance needs, and priorities of States. Such will benefit effective utilization and efficient use of aid.

Mr. Chairman,

The UN has a pivotal role to play in strengthening the rule of law.  We feel that more could be done to further increase the UN’s operational capability in this area. The Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group, Chaired by the Deputy Secretary General, and supported by the Rule of Law Unit, is mandated to ensure the overall quality, coordination and coherence of rule of law assistance within the UN System.  It is imperative that the Resource and Coordination Group have at its disposal the resources necessary to effectively carry out its mandate.

Afghanistan fully supports the continued consideration of the rule of law agenda in the General Assembly, and other organs of the United Nations.   We consider it imperative to integrate the rule of law into all pillars of the UN’s activities, such as peace and security, development, human-rights and alleviation of poverty.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, let me reiterate Afghanistan’s continued commitment to helping advance the rule of law at the national and international levels!

 

Statement by H.E. Zahir Tanin Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan at the meeting on Crime and Drugs in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

As this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor, please allow me to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, and all members of the Bureau on your election. 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, which provide an annual analysis of the efforts of the international community in combating consumption, production, and trafficking of illicit drugs.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

The problem of narcotics, with all its dimensions, is an international challenge. UNODC’s 2012 World Drug Report highlights this fact. The vicious cycle of production, trafficking and consumption of narcotics must be addressed through genuine, comprehensive global and regional strategies. It is all three aspects of the cycle that create the threat of narcotic drugs. While the Afghan Government is committed to addressing the issue of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, production does not occur without the persistent problems of trafficking and consumption. There is not one origin of the problem, but three interconnected and complex challenges. Mr. Chairman, the responsibility to eliminate the threat of narcotic drugs, and address all three areas of its existence is an unshakable task that we share internationally.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

In Afghanistan, the illicit drug trade is a part of the conflict economy, which thrives on the continuation of insecurity and instability. Afghan farmers are faced with immense pressure as a result of demand for poppy cultivation. They often fall into poppy production out of desperate, misguided attempts to emerge from war-induced poverty, or due to coercion from traffickers. However, Afghan farmers only receive a small fraction of the sale of their crops while the vast majority of profits are made outside of Afghanistan’s borders by traffickers and often support networks of global crime and terrorism. While the narcotics industry extends far beyond the Afghan farmer, the cultivation of poppy is a serious issue that must be addressed resolutely. This is why the Afghan Government is committed to eliminating poppy production, strengthening the rule of law and promoting economic prosperity.

 

Nevertheless, the efforts toward eradication are complicated. We must fight the perception that those who seek to keep the drug industry alive are supporting the livelihoods of Afghan farmers, while those who seek to eradicate poppy are punishing them.  This is why creating alternative livelihoods for farmers and promoting economic opportunities are crucial.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Despite prevailing challenges, Afghanistan has made tangible progress in combating narcotics over the course of the last few years. We have developed policies in three key areas: creating alternative livelihoods, boosting anti-drug trafficking efforts and reducing demand. We also revised our Five-year National Drug Control Strategy where we identify four key areas to disrupt the illicit drug trade, strengthen and diversify rural livelihoods and reducing demand for illicit drugs.

 

With invigorated efforts, we managed to reduce poppy cultivation from 193,000 hectares to 131,000 hectares in Afghanistan during the last 5 years. We have succeeded to increase the number of poppy-free provinces from 6 to 17. However, as we have recently seen, as a result of the increase in international demand, once declared poppy-free provinces can be lost. We must continue to address cultivation; this year we have managed to eradicate close to 10,871 hectares of poppy fields which shows an increase of three times the eradication of last year. Moreover, we have had significant achievements in the law enforcement sector. For instance 542 tons of opium and its derivatives were seized which is three times more compared to last year figures; 2,331 suspects were arrested which is a 24% increase when compared to last year’s total; and the arrest of public service officials who had supported or facilitated the drug trafficking activities was another strong measure taken last year.

 

These achievements have not come about without a cost. Hundreds of Afghan police officers have sacrificed their lives in eradication of poppy fields.  Compared with 2011, this year we have experienced higher security related incidents during eradication operations showing the strong correlation between insecurity and poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

The link between narcotics and terrorism is of profound concern as terrorist groups in our region are financed in part by profits from trading in drugs. The first report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Implementation Monitoring team, pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1988 of 2011, explains that narcotics are the primary source of funding for the Taliban and terrorist organizations in the region. By halting narcotics production in Afghanistan, we eliminate a significant source of funding for the Taliban and terrorist groups. Therefore, an anti-narcotics plan for Afghanistan is also a counter-terrorism plan.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

We are convinced that eliminating this dangerous and destructive threat, which has regional and international implications, will require sincere regional cooperation. Afghanistan has, in many regional cooperation forums indicated its strong commitments to this end, and hosted the “Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference” in Kabul in June, to further strengthen the cooperation among the countries of our region. One of the main Confidence Building Measures adopted at this conference is cooperation and interaction among regional countries in the area of counter-narcotics, including through countering the production, trafficking and consumption of opium and other narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and their precursors.

 

Afghanistan has also been represented at a number of key international conferences including the “International Conference of Ministers of Foreign Relations and Heads of Specialized National Agencies against the World Drug Problem”, in Peru this year and importantly, the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners, which was held in Vienna in February. The Paris Pact is a keystone of the international community’s fight against illicit traffic in opiates. These forums provide an important opportunity to exchange ideas and build on strategies to address this multifaceted issue. Illicit drugs pose a challenge that we all face, and my delegation believes that with strong regional and international cooperation, we can address that challenges at the three necessary levels: production, trafficking, and consumption.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Through these discussions, we must remember that narcotics are hardly an abstract issue: drug abuse is a concrete, life-altering problem that has very tangible consequences for far too many people all over the world. Drug addiction is a human issue that can rob individuals of their livelihood and happiness. Unfortunately, Afghanistan is no exception to this reality. Like other countries in the world, many of our people also suffer the pernicious effects of drug addiction. Drug addiction causes chronic unemployment and curbs economic, social, and political progress in Afghanistan. A drug addict is unable to function at anywhere near his full potential, and usually cannot maintain steady employment or a healthy family life.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

In conclusion, please allow me to reiterate the commitment of the people and Government of Afghanistan in the fight against narcotics. We look forward to working with our regional and international partners in taking decisive action to address this global threat.

 

Thank you.

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Sixth Committee on Agenda Item 105: Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

Mr. Chairman,

 

At the outset, let me congratulate you on your election to the Chairmanship of the Sixth Committee.  We look forward to working closely with you, and assure you of our full support and cooperation.

 

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

 

We are grateful for the Secretary General for his report, contained in document A/67/162, providing a comprehensive updates on recent counter-terrorism measures, at the national and international levels.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Our discussion today comes against the backdrop of a harsh and grim reality; that the menace of terrorism, threatening mankind as a whole, has yet to be eliminated.  We are all subject to the horror and brutality of terrorists, no matter where we come from; or what our nationality or religion.  This in itself makes clear that it is our joint responsibility to protect our present and future generations from the demons of terrorism.  In this connection, more must be done to translate political commitments to reality – within the context of increased and result-oriented regional and international cooperation.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

My country Afghanistan offers a clear example of a state, which is struggling vehemently to defeat terrorism. Our struggle against this global peril has lasted for more than two-decades, extending back to the dark era of the Taliban regime, where citizens were deprived of fundamental rights and freedoms, and subject to oppression.  Eleven years since the start of a new beginning, we have come a long way in transforming our society for the better. We’ve made important progress in consolidating democracy, in promoting and protecting human rights for all citizens; enabling millions of boys, girls, men and women to enroll in primary and higher education; and in progressing towards an Afghanistan which is fully in charge of its future.

 

Having said that, the Afghan people have yet to realize their number one demand – the chance to live in peace and security.  Our fight against terrorism, which has had important results, continues.  The terrorism plaguing our country and region continues with no end in sight.  Funded and equipped from sanctuaries outside Afghanistan, terrorists are still carrying out attacks against Afghans from all walks of life:  our clergy and tribal elders, public and government officials, our security forces, and even our young children.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

I wish to underscore, here, yet again, full compliance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council related to counter-terrorism.  These include the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted by UNGA resolution 49/60; as well as SC resolution 1373 of (2001).

 

The people of Afghanistan are ever more resilient to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.  We have sacrifice immensely, in terms of human and material loss. We have lost thousands of our soldiers and officers as result of terrorist attacks, and during counter-terrorism operations.  Many more have been maimed and wounded.

 

Our counter-terrorism efforts are a key component of our national security strategy.  Each and every day, our security forces are working diligently to prevent another act of terrorism for occurring.  Thousands of terrorist plots have been averted.  Yet, the severity of the challenges we face is such that Afghanistan’s enemies are still able to conduct attacks, and prevent the stabilization of the situation in the country.

 

We are continuously strengthening our counterterrorism legal framework. A multitude of measures are being taken to implement the 13 international conventions and protocols dealing with terrorism, two which are party.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

We welcome the 3rd biennial review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy this past June.  It provided a clear picture of how far we have come in our joint efforts, and the challenges we still face.  We concur with the assessment that appropriate focus must be given to all 4 pillars of the Strategy: preventing and combating terrorism; addressing conditions conducive to terrorism; strengthening capacity of States; and ensuring full respect for human rights as the fundamental basis for combating terrorism.
The work of the counter-terrorism committees 1267/1989, 1373 and 1540 are at the core of the international architecture against terrorism.  We attach great importance to, and fully support the work of these Committees.  In this regard, we have submitted our national reports on implementation, the most recent of which was our 2nd report on the 1540 Committee, earlier this year. In the same vein, we acknowledge with appreciation the important work being done by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED).

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

We welcome the creation of an International Center for Countering Terrorism, which, we feel, will go a long way in helping to consolidate cooperation and building State capacity.  The success of the Center requires a clear effort on the part of States for collaboration and cooperation.

 

We join previous speakers in calling for an early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism.  While commending the work of the Ad Hoc Committee established by GA Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, we stress increased cooperation to resolve the outstanding issues.

 

Afghanistan further underscores the importance of convening a High-level Conference on Countering Terrorism, under the auspices of the United Nations.  Such an initiative will help formulate a joint and effective response to the global fight against terrorism.

 

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate our steadfast commitment to undertake all necessary measures to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and to achieve international peace and security.

 

 

 

I Thank You.