Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ambassador Tanin Addresses UN Security Council on Women and Peace and Security

H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, addressed the UN Security Council on the topic of “women and peace and security.”

The meeting, which was held in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the historic resolution 1325 (2000) of the UN Security Council on women and peace and security, heard statements from numerous senior officials of both the UN and member-states.  Among those participating at the gathering included US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Under-Secretary General for Gender Equality Michelle Bachelet; Under-Secretary General for Peace-keeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, as well as Ministers from various countries, including Japan, Austria, Canada, Liberia, Canada, Norway and Ireland.

Delivering the opening remarks via video message, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that the past ten years had witnessed important progress towards implementation of SC Resolution 1325.  He however referred to numerous challenges to that effect, noting that the rights of women and their physical security continue to be violated world-wide.  He called on the Council to endorse the “comprehensive set of indicators,” which seeks to ensure effective monitoring and reporting of violations of women’s rights, and also promotes the role of women in the resolution of conflicts.

In his statement, Ambassador Tanin alluded to the situation in Afghanistan, and highlighted, in that regard, progress in the advancement of women over the past decade. He reaffirmed Afghanistan’s steadfast commitment to women’s empowerment.  “The government of Afghanistan has committed its energy and resources to strengthening the rights of women, improving their roles in all aspects of political, social, cultural and economic life, as shown through our National Action Plan for Women in Afghanistan (NAPWA),” said Ambassador Tanin.

He highlighted political participation, education and health as key areas of success for improving the lives of women.  He underscored the broad participation of Afghan women in Afghanistan’s recent parliamentary elections, in which 406 women contested for a seat in their national assembly. He said that women will comprise a quarter of the Afghan parliament.  Further, he stated that 1000 Afghan women were serving in the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF), while noting the government’s commitment to increasing that figure to over 5,000 over the next five years.

In the area of socio-economic development, he alluded to the high number of female students enrolled in schools, and their increased access to health services across the country.  “Around 37% of the 7 million students in Afghanistan are female,” Ambassador Tanin said.  He added, “more than 90% of the Afghan population had access to basic health services, and that women comprised 20% of all doctors and health-care professionals working in the country.”

Moreover, he pointed out that Afghan women were actively engaged in the reconciliation and reintegration initiative underway. “I can assure you,” he stated, “that in every single peace-talk, and in every single step of the reconciliation process, women’s rights will remain a priority…“women’s rights enshrined in the constitution, are non-negotiable.”

Ambassador Tanin expressed Afghanistan’s appreciation for the international community’ssupport of national efforts in improving the plight of women in Afghanistan.  In that regard, he reiterated Afghanistan’s continued commitment to working closely with the relevant agencies of the UN for achieving additional progress.

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan At the Third Committee debate on Agenda Item 106: International Drug Control 65th General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since its inception in 1997, the UNODC has played an instrumental role in leading the global fight against illicit drugs and international crime. For our part, Afghanistan values the indispensible role of UNODC in supporting our efforts to eliminate the threat of narcotic drugs and other forms of organized crime. This support has been provided in various areas, including capacity building of relevant law-enforcement institutions for effective border-control management, drug-demand-reduction and provision of alternative livelihoods.

Mr. Chairman,

Addressing the threat of narcotic drugs on the security and well-being of our society is among the top priorities of the Afghan government. Given its global and transnational character, defeating this menace will be possible only through a concerted international and regional effort.  The problem of narcotics is part of a complicated and sophisticated criminal network, from which the people of Afghanistan continue to suffer immensely on a daily basis.

Cognizant of this threat, the Afghan government has taken a number of steps at the national, regional, and international levels for addressing this scourge.  We are pleased to state that our efforts have yielded important results. With support and assistance from our international partners, we have succeeded in reducing poppy cultivation by 48% this year. We are pleased to see this reflected in UNODC’s 2010 Afghanistan Opium Survey. Additionally, through a comprehensive set of measures, which include strengthened law-enforcement, agricultural development, interdiction, alternative livelihoods, demand-reduction and public awareness, we have maintained twenty poppy-free provinces and are committed to increasing that figure by next year.

Meanwhile, it has become evident that a successful fight against narcotic drugs requires a comprehensive strategy with more focus on addressing the trafficking and consumption dimension of the narcotics problem. More needs to be done by transit and consuming countries to prevent trafficking of chemical precursors, and reduce demand in foreign markets. In this regard, we call for increased measures by member-states to implement Security Council resolution 1817 on combating deliveries of chemical precursors for drug production in Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

The production of illicit drugs is linked to the continuation of terrorist and extremist activity in Afghanistan and our region. The proceeds from narcotic drugs continue to be used as a main source of terrorist funding.  Like terrorism, the narcotics problem is a threat to stability in our region and beyond. Therefore, given the interdependent link between terrorism and narcotics, these twin challenges must be addressed in tandem with one another .

Aside from security implications, narcotic drugs pose a serious threat to the social fabric of Afghan society. Drug abuse in Afghanistan has increased substantially over the past years.  Those affected include both youth and adults.  As indicated in last year’s ‘Drug Use in Afghanistan Survey,’ “[e]asy access to cheap drugs and limited access to drug treatment, combined with three decades of war-related trauma have resulted in problem drug-use among almost one-million Afghans, roughly 8% of the population between 15-64 years old.” Moreover, according to the survey, more than 90% of drug users are in dire need of treatment.  Currently, 40 structured drug-treatment centers are operational in 21 provinces. In this regard, we underscore the need for sustained international assistance in expanding quantity and quality of “drug-treatment centers” throughout the country.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan attaches special importance to effective regional cooperation for addressing the many challenges facing our region. These include terrorism, extremism, narcotic drugs, and organized crime. In this regard, we continue collaboration with regional countries for a viable solution to these problems. We are working to expand cooperation in various fields, including strengthening of relevant law-enforcement agencies, greater intelligence sharing on terrorist threats, and drawing effective mechanisms to curtail trafficking of chemical precursors and narcotic drugs. We continue to hold bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral consultations, and maintain our efforts through other mechanisms and forums, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Moreover, in the context of more effective border management, we underscore the need to expedite the recruitment and training of Afghan security forces, including Afghan border and customs police to render a more effective role in preventing the infiltration into Afghan territory of all forms of illegal activity.

Mr. Chairman,

We are thankful to the international community, the UNODC in particular, for its continued support and commitment in addressing the challenges of security, narcotic drugs and organized crime, and achieving a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. Together we have come a long way, but much remains to be accomplished.  We look forward to our continued partnership to finish the vision we began nine and a half-years ago.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

Check Against Delivery

H.E. Zahir Tanin

H.E. Zahir Tanin at the 111th Plenary meeting of the GA 64th session: Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations