Rule of Law at the National and International Level

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STATEMENT BY Mr. Youssof Ghafoorzai
Counselor Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the General Debate of the 6th Committee on Agenda Item 86:
Rule of Law at the National and International Level

(check against delivery)

October 9, 2018

NEW YORK

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The rule of law is the corner-stone of a stable and prosperous world order, and the very foundation on which stable societies emerge.

The United Nations is embedded in the rule of law, by virtue of its Charter – which advocates equality, justice, co-existence and an international landscape where States are obligated to adhere to international law.

For Afghanistan, the rule of law has been an over-riding objective in the context of our nation-building efforts since 2001. As we began a new chapter in our modern history, all our endeavors, such as achieving peace; improving social and economic conditions or our citizens; building viable state-institutions; and strengthening good-governance have been directly linked to building a society grounded in the rule of law. In this regard, the United Nations has played a vital role in galvanizing global support for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Today, despite the lingering problems of terrorism and insecurity, Afghanistan has reached a turning point in our goal to become a Self-Reliant nation. Over the past two years, the Government of National Unity has delivered on most of commitments made at the Brussels Conference in 2016 to further consolidate our state institutions, solidify trust and confidence of our people, and above all, to strengthen governance and the rule of law – as critical elements of our long-term stability.

Under the Self-Reliance Mutual Accountability Framework (SMAF), endorsed in Brussels, we have continued our comprehensive reform agenda, across our institutions and other government agencies to further efficiency, accountability, and transparency.

Our national strategy for combating corruption, finalized in 2016, provides the main framework for our governance efforts.  In the past two years, steady progress was made on the 6 pillars of the strategy in relation to:  strong national leadership; improved transparency in the security sector; merit-based appointments in the civil service; increased investigation and prosecution of corruption cases, as well as combating money laundering.

The Anti-Corruption Justice Center is investigating and prosecuting many cases of malpractice, including by senior officials – resulting in suspension and dismissal from duties, as well as over one hundred convictions.  Furthermore, the National Procurement Commission has transformed the process by which Government Contracts are being issued, leading to a strict vetting of proposals. A comprehensive overhaul of our national laws related to our financial system also led us to be declared compliant with international standards under the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

In regards to protection of women’s rights and their empowerment, the Supreme Court established special courts across the country to provide security and justice for Afghan women. Furthermore, specialized protection units have been established within the Attorney General’s Office in more than half of all of our provinces.  Such measures have had a profound impact in affirming that anything short of accountability and transparency will not be permitted.

Despite all that’s been achieved in relation to our progress, we are cognizant of challenges facing us. To that end, next month’s international Geneva Conference on Afghanistan will mark the start of a new phase of our engagement with our international partners. The Conference will endorse a new set of deliverables, across a wide spectrum of areas in the form of the Geneva Mutual Accountability Framework (GMAF).  They will include time-bound benchmarks to be fulfilled in continuation of past progress in the areas of security, political stability; governance; human rights and fiscal stability.

Strengthening democratic institutions to uphold the political will, aspirations and destiny of our people remains a core and immediate priority for Afghanistan. To this end, we are preparing for up-coming parliamentary elections later this month, as well as Presidential elections next year. We have witnessed the emergence of new wave of young and energetic candidates, who are seeking membership in parliament.  We know that ensuring credible, transparent, and inclusive elections is crucial for our future political stability.

Mr. Chairman,

In the past year, important developments have taken place in strengthening the rule of law at the international levels. The United Nations is the main international body responsible for promoting global peace, security and prosperity. As such, its output across various pillars has a profound impact in advancing the rule of law, both nationally and internationally.  In that context, we welcome progress made in the implementation of the Secretary General’s reform of peace, security and development pillars, which – naturally – will benefit greater coordination and coherence in related fields.

The Creation of the UN Office on Counter-Terrorism (OCT) marked an important development in the adjustment of the UN’s peace and security architecture.  We, among other member-states, have high hopes that the new office will benefit greater counter-terrorism coordination within the UN system; help build State capacities in dealing with terrorism; and more broadly, promote steadier implementation of counter-terrorism obligations under the UN Global Counter-terrorism Strategy.

In addition to security, social and economic development also impacts the rule of law at various levels. In this context, the repositioning of the UN development system was another important development in the context of the UN’s reform agenda.  That said, we hope it will expedite progress by all States, particularly conflict and post-conflict countries, to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

Mr. Chairman,

It is common knowledge that the ultimate guarantee for upholding the rule of law at the national and international levels depends on actions by States in adhering to the UN Charter in letter and spirit and, for that matter, fulfilling obligations under the multitude of international conventions, treaties and protocols governing international law.  In that respect, we have and remain firmly committed to conducting our relations in conformity with universal norms and principles that provide for a stable and global world order.

Thank You Mr. Chairman.

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