Friday, August 22, 2014

Women, Peace and Security

Statement of The Islamic of Republic of Afghanistan
Delivered by Mr. Ahmad Zahir Faqiri,

Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the Security Council debate on Women, Peace and Security

28 October 2011

New York

Madam President,

I thank you for convening today’s debate, which offers us all an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to protecting and ensuring women’s rights and their momentous role in peace and security. I also take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General for his report and strong words of support for the active role and contribution of women in global peace and security.

Madam President,

Statement of The Islamic of Republic of Afghanistan Delivered by Mr. Ahmad Zahir Faqiri, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Security Council debate on Women, Peace and Security

The history of war and violence has left an upsetting impact in my country. Violence still takes its toll on every Afghan life, including women. I hope the anguish which every Afghan family faces, will one day come to an end. Women continue to bear the bulk of the burden of conflict in Afghanistan, while their right to secure, healthy and affluent lives still remains in peril.

Madam President,

We gather today to recognise the imperative role that women have in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, the tangible fruits of which have already been seen in Afghanistan through the decisive presence of women at the Consultative Peace Jirga in 2010 and the continuing efforts to ensure participation of women in leadership positions within and outside of the government.

This debate is particularly appropriate as Afghanistan is entering into the second phase of transition to Afghan leadership and ownership and increased responsibility for security and economic development.

Madam President,

In regards to development we have begun implementation of the 10 yearNational Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA) based upon the priorities of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy. As part of this action plan (NAPWA)we have established Gender Units in 14 of 25 government ministries, however, even with a 10 year time line, accelerated efforts need to be made to ensure the full implementation of such a comprehensive action plan with vital goals that include 30 percent of governmental positions held by women by the end of 2013 and a target of 35 percent participation of female students in universities by the end of 2012.

We have also made strides in the rule of law, the most recent being the establishment of a national Commission on Elimination of Violence against Women following enactment of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in December 2010. This is vital in enhancing Afghan women’s access to legal redress, sending the strong message that the Afghan government is committed to the rights of women and ensuring that there is no impunity for those who violate them.

Madam President,

Ensuring the rights of women is only half the battle; we also need to see the full participation of women, as 1325 reminds us they have a vital role to play in the peace and security of our country. The representation of women in governance and political participation has been steadily increasing. We have succeeded in holding two Presidential and two parliamentary elections, in which women actively participated as candidates, election staff, poll watchers and electorates. Women comprise 27 percent of the parliament making Afghanistan the 30th in the world with the highest representation of women in Parliament. The Afghanistan National Parliament has also established a resource centre for women parliamentarians to enhance their capacity to include women’s voices and perspectives effectively in the national development and reconstruction plans.

Madam President,

When reviewing these facts and figures, let us not lose sight of the great personal risk that these women undertake in order to participate in the governance of their country and in their future. I wish to take this opportunity to honour the women who continue take risks to assume an active role in the future, direction and peace of our country.

Madam President,

Our international partners have been assisting the Afghan Government in our endeavors. UN-Women has administered a multi-donor trust fund for the elimination of violence against women, which provided grants for national organizations to combat violence against women. I am very pleased to report that in collaboration with UN-Women, Afghanistan has submitted its first country report to CEDAW. The continued collaboration of our Government, international partners, and both Afghan and international civil society groups will be vital to ensure the full realisation women’s rights in a strong and stable Afghanistan.

Madam President,

Building a sustained and secure environment that enables women to live free of intimidation, and violence, which supports their participation and leadership in promoting and maintaining peace and security, is one of the core objectives of the Afghan Government.

We also   focus on women political actors at national, sub national and local levels, capacity building and advocacy strategies to enable them to attain a critical role in high-level decision, policy, and law-making positions in key government institutions; and to accomplish their significant political and social responsibility.

Madam President

With the support of our partners and the international community we will continue to work toward the full implementation of 1325, in recognition that our goal of sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan will only be achieved with the full participation of the entire Afghan nation.    I thank you.

High Level Meeting on Youth

Statement  of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Delivered by Mr. Ahmad Zahir Faqiri  Minister, Deputy Permanent Representative
At the General Assembly  High Level Meeting on Youth

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this timely High level Youth Forum highlighting the International year of Youth.

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Afghan Government, I would like to stress the need for further effort to support young people in developing their capacity to tackle the challenges they face. Let me emphasize that the primary responsibility for ensuring youth development lies with states. Today I will address both the challenges ahead for Afghan youth and achievements accomplished thus far.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is a country of youth. 68% of the population is below 25 years of age. The bulk of the population is to a certain extent deprived of their fundamental rights, including but not limited to lack of educational and employment opportunities. The situation of Afghan girls is of particular concern – under traditional pressures they enter early marriage and early pregnancy, contributing to Afghanistan’s dire MMR and IMR.

Youth literacy rates are low; 50% for boys and 18% for girls; secondary school enrollments are respectively 23% and 7%, and less than 2% of the Afghan population reaches higher education.

Faced with these challenges, Afghan youth are at risk. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by unemployment, low wages, lack of safety and security, poverty and lack of medical care, making youth particularly at risk to recruitment to armed opposition and terrorist organizations.

Mr. President,

In the face of these challenges, we should not lose sight of the progress made thus far.  To date, more than seven millions boys and girls are enrolled in schools, investing in their futures.  We have constructed more than 4,000 schools across the country; we predict to have Fourteen million children enrolled in schools by 2020; and in a country where practically no girls received education just ten years ago, over 40 percent of these new students will be girls. Additionally, the great majority of Afghanistan’s population has access to basic health-care, showing great progress over the last ten years.

It is worth mentioning that a considerable percentage of the Afghan parliament are comprised of young representatives, almost entire of the news agencies, TVs broadcasting, monthly magazines are running by the young generation in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to fulfilling its responsibility to protect the rights of all youth and to addressing violations of youth’s rights. We have initiated a number of important steps at the national, regional and international levels. This includes the launch of a National Youth Programme, which reiterates our commitment to the development of the sons and daughters of Afghanistan and seeks to establish an opportunity for Afghan youth to fulfill their aspirations.

Mr. President,

This generation of youth in my country, having experienced conflict and exile, now they must be empowered with alternative opportunities. Their fresh perspectives, their energy, enthusiasm and determination must be guided for promoting peace and development in Afghanistan.

I wish to conclude by joining the previous speakers to express the condolences of the Afghan government and Afghan people to the Mission of Norway and through them to the people of Norway on the recent act of terror which caused dozens of casualties.

I thank you.

For your attention

Security Council Debates Afghanistan with a Focus on Transition


On 6 July, the United Nations Security Council held a debate on the Situation in Afghanistan. The debate began with a briefing by Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, was given the floor after the SRSG’s remarks.

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Both the SRSG and Ambassador Tanin focused on the “critical juncture,” as Ambassador Tanin put it, of transition to Afghan ownership and leadership of the country’s security. In this transition, according to Ambassador Tanin, continued international support and engagement beyond 2014 is crucial for the future stability of the country, in particular, a “lasting partnership with the UN.” The SRSG pointed out the need to focus beyond security for the transition period and address “social, economic and, frankly, human rights.”

Most participants in the meeting brought up the recent tragedies of the attacks on the hospital in Logar Province and the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. Ambassador Tanin referred to the recent campaign as a display of  “promo-psychodrama…a conspicuously well-orchestrated attempt by the enemies of Afghanistan, designed to incite fear among people, to hinder the international support for Afghanistan, and to convince a war-weary audience in some countries that the war is unwinnable…However,” he said, “acts of terror will not shake our determination for securing peace and stability in Afghanistan.” The SRSG highlighted the effectiveness of the Afghan military and police in responding to these attacks, praising their strengthened capacity and improved abilities.

Both Ambassador Tanin and the SRSG emphasised the importance of ongoing reconciliation and reintegration efforts aimed at achieving a political solution to the conflict. In these efforts, the SRSG explained, UNAMA is functioning as a confidence-builder, as substantive discussion on these matters is the purview of the Afghan government. In this regard, he praised the Security Council’s ongoing de-listing of ex-Taliban militants from sanctions lists as a move in the right direction.

In addition, the SRSG praised progress on bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation, as well as improvements in the human rights, including women’s rights and the protection of children – though both the SRSG and Ambassador Tanin noted that civilian casualties from Taliban action continue to increase.

The other delegates of the Security Council, along with representatives from the EU, Japan, Pakistan, Canada and Turkey, expressed concern over recent escalations in the level of civilian casualties, and unanimously condemned violence against UN personnel. Nevertheless, they also reaffirmed their faith in the Afghan parliamentary process and pledged continued support of an Afghan-led reconciliation effort.

Photos of the Meeting by U.N.

Video of the meeting by U.N