Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations at the Security Council debate on Women, Peace and Security
I would like to start by congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Council for the month of April. We wish you every success in leading the work of the Council during your Presidency and thank you for convening today’s debate on an issue of crucial importance.
We are thankful to the Secretary-General, H.E Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, as well as to his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, for the presentations they gave this morning. Taking this opportunity, we congratulate Ms. Bangura on her appointment, and commend the strong determination with which she is carrying out her task.
Armed conflicts leave a devastating effect on societies around the world. Violence breeds more violence. Undoubtedly, women often bear the brunt of the many destructive consequences of war and strife. In that regard, sexual violence in the context of armed conflicts remains pervasive; a devastating reality that has yet to be resolved, requiring steadfast efforts at all levels.
In adopting resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1960 (2010), the Security Council sent the clear message that sexual violence will not be tolerated, and that ending sexual violence is essential for maintaining international peace and security. All States have the moral and legal responsibility to uphold the rights of women, and all citizens, and to protect them from sexual violence.
Protecting and promoting the rights of the Afghan people has been the cornerstone of all our efforts to build a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Central to these efforts is enabling women to regain their historic role as proactive citizens in Afghan society. Afghanistan is pursuing the vigorous implementation of SC resolution 1325 through our National Priority Program. We launched the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA) as a ten-year blue print, which contains specific and time-bound benchmarks for progress in various areas. As the implementation of the Action Plan continues apace, we are confident that we will realize our vision to see Afghan women thrive, empowered in all sectors of society: social, political and economic.
Afghanistan is fully committed to preventing any form of violence against women, including sexual violence. In this regard, we enacted in 2009 the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law, providing stronger judicial means through which we can combat violence. Throughout the country, where committed, perpetrators of such crimes are increasingly being held accountable, and prosecuted before the law.
In reference to an observation made in the Secretary-General’s report, we wish to state, with full confidence, the Government of Afghanistan and its people do not, and will not tolerate impunity against any form of human rights violations. Together with our judicial authorities, the Afghan national security forces are working diligently to uphold law and order in all areas of the country. On the way forward, we are confident our efforts will continue to bear fruit, and women will be further empowered.
We also wish to highlight the following: Afghanistan is fully committed to upholding human rights in Afghan detention centers. In this respect, a number of concrete measures have been taken by the National Directorate for Security (NDS), including establishment of a human right division to monitor and investigate human rights situations as well as capacity building, and human rights awareness workshops for personnel. Following UNAMA’s report of January 20, 2013 on alleged cases of prisoner mistreatment, President Karzai issued a decree, which established an Independent Commission to investigate said cases that were reflected in UNAMA’s report. Since then, greater focus is being given to ensuring full adherence to human rights standards in Afghan detention centers.
As the security transition proceeds, Afghanistan is also adamant on a successful outcome to its peace and reconciliation process, aimed at ending the current conflict and strife. By ending the conflict, we will eliminate the very conditions that were conducive to challenges in the area of human rights. As members of the High Peace Council (HPC), and as members of civil society, women are playing a central role in the peace process. The results of our peace and reconciliation efforts will in no way jeopardize the hard won gains of the past 11 years, especially those relating to human rights, the rights of women in particular.
Before concluding, the international community has a crucial role to play to support continuous efforts in conflict affected, and post-conflict countries to end all forms of violence against women, including sexual violence. For our part, Afghanistan stands firmly committed to do its part in ensuring full protection of women’s rights around the world, and to preventing sexual violence, and all other forms of violations of human rights.
I Thank You.