Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UN Meeting in Geneva on the Question of Palestine

Press Release

April 3, 2012 by Afghan Mission

At the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People are meeting on 3-4 April to discuss the question of Palestine, the situation of Palestinian political prisoners, legal and political implications of Israeli prisons and detention facilities, and the role of the international community.

As Vice Chair of the Committee, H.E. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN is in attendance. Other participants include representatives of UN Member States and Observers, intergovernmental organizations, UN entities, academia, civil society organizations and the media.

At the opening session, Maxwell Gaylard, Deputy UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, delivered a message from Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.  He stated that, “the Middle East peace process is at a dangerous impasse.  The target date set by the Quartet for an agreement by the end of this year remains the objective.  The Quartet will continue to work toward this goal. In parallel, we must all do our part to bolster the Palestinian Authority and ensure progress on State-building and addressing the dire financial situation of the Palestinian Authority.” Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and the Issa Quaraqe, Minister of the Palestinian Authority for Prisoners’ Affairs also spoke at the opening session.

This afternoon, a meeting was held the first of three thematic discussions set out in its agenda, on humanitarian and legal aspects of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities.  H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin chaired the first thematic discussion.

Speaking at the first thematic discussion were; Khaled Quzmar, Legal Consultant for Defense for Children International, Ahmad Shreem, Palestinian Legislative Council, Jan Borgen, Deputy Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists, Mohammed Albatta, Director-General of the Rehabilitation Programme, Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, and Lama Odeh Sharif, Psycho-Social Supervisor at the Rehabilitation Programme, Young Men’s Christian Association, East Jerusalem

The meeting will conclude after two plenaries on 4 April.

Foreign Minister Westerwelle with H.E. Zalmai Rassoul

Foreign Minister Westerwelle with his Afghan counterpart Zalmai Rassoul and the spokesman of the Federal Foreign Office, Andreas Peschke, at the Closing Press Conference 05.12.2011

Towers of Knowledge – Afghanistan in Ancient Pictures (1747 – 1973)

In front of a packed room at the German House, Professor Paul Bucherer-Dietschi unveiled the five “towers of knowledge” exhibition that he has worked tirelessly on for the past two years.  This historically rich and informative exhibit of photographs and illustrations of Afghanistan from 1747 to 1973 was well-received by the many attendees.

The exhibition was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations and co sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.  H.E. Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany introduced the event, followed by H.E. Ambassador Tanin of Afghanistan, H.E. Ambassador Seger of Switzerland, and H.E. Ambassador Wenaweser of Liechtenstein.

The exhibition consisted of five different displays, each summarizing a particular part of Afghan history.  The displays are constructed in the shape of five wooden towers, called the “Towers of Knowledge,” each showing about 60-80 photographs.  Along with the photos, a brief text of comments on historical milestones is presented in English, German and Dari and Pashto.

The exhibitions aim is to enrich the youth with the country’s cultural roots and thus evoke a sense of pride in national identity.  This exhibition helps to restore the education of Afghanistan’s rich history in the future generations.  As H.E. Ambassador Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan said in his opening remarks, “These pictures help the new generation and perhaps all, not only to know our history, but to be inspired by it.”

This exhibit was set up by the Swiss Afghanistan Institute in close cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Education to help Afghan people become more familiar with their own country’s modern history.  The exhibit currently has 68 copies being shown throughout Afghanistan, two copies in each of the 34 provinces.  Teachers were trained in Kabul to handle the towers and provide additional historical background when posed with questions from Afghan citizens.

This exhibition will be on display at the German House from November 21, 2011 – January 10th 2012 for the public to view and enjoy.