STATEMENT Delivered By Zuhal Salim
Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the Third Committee of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly
Agenda Item 29: Advancement of Women
(Check against delivery)
8 October 2018
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished delegates,
Today, an empowered and embolden generation of women has emerged in Afghanistan. Afghan women constructively continue to contribute to their society. Within the past year, our all-girls robotics team for the first time in the modern history of my country has competed internationally in the United States and Europe. Furthermore, nearly 16% of candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections are women.
The voice of Afghan women are stronger than ever and we seek to strengthen it further.
A prosperous Afghanistan is dependent upon empowering the other half of our population. Therefore, advancing the rights of women is a priority for my government. To strengthen these rights, we are deploying economic, social, and political tools through the following five pillars:
Fulfilling our global commitment on human rights, security, and freedom from domestic violence for women;
Ensuring full access to education and health services, including to higher education;
Implementing the national program for women’s economic empowerment;
Fully executing national laws on equal rights and protections;
Advancing women in government and business.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
During the last 17 years, my government’s persistant efforts in realizing the rights of women has led to the increase of Afghan women working in the public and private sectors. Women comprise nearly 27% of government employees.
As a country in conflict, a key objective of my government is to increase the effective participation of women in all levels of decision‐making. Afghan women not only want to have a presence in government but they want their engagement to be meaningful. Toward this end, through the National Action Plan (NAP) , we are implementing UNSC resolution 1325. We’ve prepared our second report last July, noting our achievements thus far. As a result of the NAP, Afghan women are actively involved in shaping the future of their country.
Women’s contribution to the peace and security of Afghanistan is important more than ever. There are currently 12 women in Afghanistan’s High Peace Council. In the last two years, the participation of women in the council increased from 11% to 20%. Moreover, the presence of women in the national army increased from 0.5% to 0.6% and the presence of police women increased from 1.3% to 2.5%. Despite these increases, we are seeking to encourage more women to join the security sector.
Protracted conflict has aggravated violence against Afghan women. However, my government aims to reverse this trend through the newly established institutions and legislations. Afghanistan for the first time established a Deputy Office for Elimination of Violence Against Women at the Attorney General’s Office. Through this office, we are increasing women’s access to justice. Moreover, we recently passed an Anti-Harassment Law, criminalizing harassment of women. Additionally, Afghanistan has also developed a National Strategy to Prevent Violence against Women.
However, these gains can only be consolidated through the 2030 Agenda. By implementing SDGs, we aim to sustain our achievements to ensure the protection of women’s rights
Furthermore, we’ve inaugurated the Citizens’ Charter Afghanistan Project (CCAP). This charter strengthens my government’s partnership with rural and local communities to provide all Afghans with essential services. This program will enable my government to work with widows and poor women to alleviate their living conditions.
To conclude Mr. Chairman, my government is fully committed to securing and protecting the rights of women. However, we require the continued support of the international community. It is only through our shared values and objectives that we could empower Afghan women to build a better tomorrow.
I thank you.