STATEMENT BY Ambassador Adela Raz
Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
High-Level Open Debate of the United Nations Security Council on Women, Peace, and Security – Sexual Violence in Conflict
23 April 2019
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- I would like to thank the German Presidency for holding this meeting of the Security Council on sexual violence in conflict. It is reflective of the Council’s focus, and we hope today’s discussions will reinforce the efforts of all States to enhance progress on the protection of women.
- The Government of Afghanistan is strongly committed to protect women’s rights and prevent violence against women in armed conflict, and calls upon on all parties in conflict in Afghanistan to prevent violence against women.
- This commitment is a reflection of our international and national responsibilities, which are enshrined in our Constitution, national laws; and implemented through the policies and programs adopted by the Government.
- Our National Action Plan on 1325 is a strong example of the government’s commitment, through which we are combating conflict-related sexual violence and working to protect and empower women in all aspects.
- As part of the protection pillar of our Plan, we have improved our legal structure through the enforcement and amendment of legislations, to safeguard women, from all types of violence and discrimination.
- Our revised Penal Code which entered into force in February 2018, has been expanded in criminalizing all forms of conflict-related sexual violence, as a war crime, crime against humanity, and an act of genocide.
- Under our law on Elimination of violence against women (EVAW law,) various awareness-raising activities are being carried out, at all levels nationwide, including in provincial committees. More broadly, our protection measures are based on a “Zero Tolerance Approach” to all forms of violence against women and children.
- All cases of crimes against women, are investigated and referred to the judicial institutions, based on various national legislations, and EVAW Law. Our security and judicial institutions have taken new measures for accountability of crimes committed against women, including sexual violence.
- These measures have had a notable impact on deterrence, leading to a decrease in crimes against women. We have also established a mechanism for registration of all alleged, and reported crimes nationwide, to ensure that all cases are identified and fully addressed.
- Our focus in such protection includes close collaboration with different actors on the ground, including the Independent Human Rights Commission, local and religious figures, and the civil society.
- We have also increased the number of female prosecutors and judges so that women are able to speak openly about any alleged crime. This has been an effective reform in the judiciary sector, where women are now more able to speak-up about any violence against them.
- Further, to assist the survivors of Gender Based Violence, we are making sure to provide legal advice, health and psychosocial services by Family Guidance Centers (FGCs) in all parts of the country.
- All these measures demonstrate a comprehensive approach, using various means, both within and outside the framework of Government to ensure women’s protection. We are pleased to report that public awareness initiatives have reached new levels of progress, broadening wide network of actors and advocates.
- As such, public lectures, workshops, and conversations on EVAW law are conducted in collaboration with Islamic figures, religious schools, teachers, and other figures.
- The Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) have developed policies to increase the ratio of women’s recruitment at public institutions & their protection in the office. Furthermore, beyond Civil Service, at the security sector, active steps have been taken to recruit additional women into the National Police, and the Military forces.
- As explained above, ensuring the physical protection of women is only one aspect of our focus on upholding women’s rights and empowerment.
- For us, protection and empowerment has a broad meaning. It also includes enhancement of women’s role in civil service, security sector, elections, as well as peace efforts that are now underway to end the conflict. As part of the government’s commitment, we assure the Council that any potential peace agreement would in no way compromise women’s rights and their proactive role in the rebuilding of a new Afghanistan. However, we request this council and the participants of today’s meeting to echo our strive to protect and preserve the rights of Afghan women, and the gains we have made in this regard in the last 17 years, during the peace talks with the Taliban.
- We welcome the adoption of today’s resolution. We hope and expect it will lead to better coordination among all international actors to end sexual violence in conflict, and more broadly, to ensure continued progress on women’s safety and empowerment.
I also would like to take the chance and thank the esteemed panelists for their effective contributions to today’s discussion.