Saturday, February 25, 2017

STATEMENT By H.E Mahmoud Saikal Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Under Agenda Item 60:

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions

 

(Please check against delivery)

 

2 November 2016

NEW YORK

 

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

At the outset, I would like to thank the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for his report and comprehensive briefing this afternoon. My delegation strongly supports the UNHCR’s mandate and commends its dedicated staff for their endeavors towards addressing the global crisis of refugees.

Mr. Chairman,

 

Today, the world is facing increasing threats from terrorism and violent extremism. As a result, there is a humanitarian crisis of unforeseen proportions, where thousands of innocent victims of war, including men, women, and children, have become refugees. The global community must act now to ensure that this humanitarian crisis is mitigated. History will not judge us kindly if we fail to take action to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable amongst us.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Despite making significant progress across socioeconomic sectors, Afghanistan is still one of the leading countries of origin for refugees worldwide. Four decades of political instability has led to this humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, we have four categories of Afghan nationals who are associated with the refugee crisis today: (1) people who have recently arrived in Europe or trying to enter one of the European countries, both legally and illegally; (2) people who are currently intending to leave the country and are busy making arrangements for that; (3) people who have lived in neighboring countries like Pakistan and Iran for a long time; and (4) Afghan diaspora in fear of retribution for terrorist attacks around the world.

 

In the first category, terrorism, extremism, and protracted proxy wars are few causes for Afghans leaving their country in search of security. They have taken enormous risks to endure perilous journeys, often exploited by traffickers, in search of a stable life. Shutting the doors on their faces is not only against the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, but would also develop hatred, and ultimately fuel radicalization among disenfranchised youth.

 

The second category comprises of those who are currently planning to leave the country due to two main reasons; i) security concerns in Afghanistan due to the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, exacerbated by post transition changes, and ii) slow economy with endemic poverty of almost 36% and widespread unemployment of between 40-50% are additional causes of migration. The Government of Afghanistan is working to address these two issues to curb the flow of people who are planning to leave.

 

The third category includes those nationals of our country who live in Iran and Pakistan. I would like to extend my appreciation for the hospitality extended to them by these host countries. While we recognize their generosity with gratitude, we would like to call on their attention for the voluntary, gradual, and dignified repatriation of Afghan refugees.

 

The last category involves those Afghans who have settled in host countries, especially in the West, and form a part of the global Afghan diaspora. On the occasion of a terrorist attack, this group often faces backlash from right wing and Islamophobic factions. Discrimination based on religion and race is a global scourge and we should work together to negate negative stereotyping of Afghan communities, and to foster inter-faith and cross-cultural networks.

 

In conclusion, I would like to highlight the renewed commitment of the Government of Afghanistan in making voluntary repatriation and reintegration of its citizens among its highest national priorities. Principles of international solidarity, responsibility, burden sharing, and partnership should drive the efforts of voluntary resettlement and repatriation. Given the global threat of terrorism imposed upon us, we anticipate further investment from the international community in bringing peace, stability, and economic prosperity in Afghanistan so the influx of refugees to other countries in search of safety and economic prospects lessen. We welcome the support shown by the international community at the Brussels conference and UNHCR’s mandate in finding a comprehensive solution to the situation of refugees worldwide.

 

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

 

 

Promotion and protection of human rights

Statement by G. Seddiq Rasuli Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Third Committee under Agenda Item 68: Promotion and protection of  human rights

NEW YORK

 

Madam Chair,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Thank you for organizing today’s important meeting on the promotion and protection of human rights. I would like to present the following points on the topic and its relevance for my delegation.

1.  Promotion and protection of human rights is a constitutional obligation of the Government of Afghanistan and we are strongly committed to its full realization. Unfortunately, growing threats of terrorism and violent extremism continue to challenge the very principles of freedom and human rights in Afghanistan.

2. Despite continued security challenges, the people and Government of Afghanistan are determined to preserve the gains made over the past sixteen years. We are strongly motivated to build upon these gains by creating an environment where peace and security prevails, justice and rule of law is preserved, and human rights respected.

3.  In this regard, we have developed a sustainable reform agenda for the country that incorporates good governance in all sectors, with promotion and protection of human rights at its core. On October 5th, at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, the Government of Afghanistan launched Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) which sets out Afghanistan’s Strategic Policy Priorities towards achieving self-reliance. ANPDF underscores the urgency of reducing poverty by creating employment and addressing widespread problems such as child malnutrition, access to education and healthcare, food insecurity, poor sanitation, and conflict related impoverishment, which intrinsically improves the overall situation of human rights in the country.

4. The issue of promotion and protection of human rights is one of the main pillars of our National Priority Programs (NPPs); further, women’s economic empowerment plays a crucial role in the successful implementation of our NPPs. In addition, Afghanistan has also launched its National Action Plan on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security at the end of 2015. The Plan aims to increase women’s active participation in decision making across sectors, especially in executive levels of the civil service, access to healthcare and psychosocial support for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, improved education and employment opportunities, protection of women and girls from all types of violence and discrimination  as well as women’s participation in the  peace process and security sectors.

5. Afghanistan ranks number four in freedom of speech in our region. Recently, the Government of Afghanistan issued a new decree on Acceess to Information which would further strengthen our young democracy through promoting freedom of expression.

6.  Corruption has impacted good governance and the rule of law in our country and to curb this menace, the Government of Afghanistan has strengthened anti-corruption measures and taken a number of concrete steps to improve access to justice, enhance transparency and accountability, and end the culture of impunity in our country.

 

Madam Chair,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

7.  Afghanistan has a come a long way in the past sixteen years. Since the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan has achieved significant development towards realization of human rights values and principles. As a state party to core international human rights treaties and instruments, Afghanistan has successfully completed and submitted its reports, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Moreover, the provisions of the conventions were also adopted in 10 legislations that were enacted within the past years.

8.  Despite these achievements, multiple challenges persist today and we need to address them to protect and consolidate our gains in Afghanistan. In the past sixteen years, we have been committed to promoting and protecting human rights for all through effective international and regional cooperation. In order to amplify our voice in the global arena, ensure that past achievements are protected and new promises fulfilled, and share our experiences of promoting human rights as a country in the forefront of the international fight against terrorism and violent extremism, Afghanistan is a candidate for the Human Rights Council, and we would really appreciate your support in our endeavour.

 

I thank you.

Statement By Mr. G. Seddiq Rasuli Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Third Committee, Agenda Item 27: Advancement of Women

11 October 2016

New York

Madam Chair,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before I begin, I would like to thank the Secretary General and the Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for their reports under this agenda item. The reports provide an excellent overview of the growing attention paid to the important issue of advancement of women. Taking this opportunity, I further wish to thank the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, for her valuable engagement.

Madam Chair,

Since the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan has made considerable progress in the  promotion and protection of women’s rights. Women’s empowerment has always been a top priority for the Government of Afghanistan. Over the course of last 15 years, Afghan women and girls have been experiencing significant improvements in their political, social, economic, and cultural rights, including the right to education, access to healthcare and the ability to pursue a livelihood and return to work.

Today, the voice of Afghan women is much stronger than before as Afghan women continue to play an important role in all walks of life. Our electoral law provides women equal voting rights; we have also allocated 26% of seats in the lower house (Wolisi Jirga) and 17% of seats in the upper house (Meshrano Jirga) for women, which demonstrates a significant representation of women in formal decision-making. Moreover, the number of women who participate at different high levels of the Government and the peace process is growing fast.

We are happy to report to this committee that women’s access to education has significantly improved since 2001. Of the 9 million students enrolled in primary and secondary schools in 2015, 40% are girls; this was almost zero before 2001. The number of female students at universities and institutes of higher education has also grown considerably.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The progress of SDGs in Afghanistan is directly and intrinsically linked to the overall well-being of the economy, political and security factors. Afghanistan continues to be on a forward-looking trajectory which lends further optimism and ensures that progress on SDGs is imminent.

On October 5th, at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, the Government of Afghanistan launched Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) which sets out Afghanistan’s Strategic Policy Priorities towards achieving self-reliance. Women’s economic empowerment as a key aspect for achieving the SDGs is one of the main pillars of our National Priority Program. In this regard,  the Government of Afghanistan will invest around $250 million in the next fifteen years.

In addition, Afghanistan has also launched its National Action Plan on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security at the end of 2015. Based on this plan, the number of women in the security forces will be increased by 20%.

Madam Chair,

Nearly four decades of wars and conflicts have resulted in weakened government institutions and have severely damaged the social fabric of our society. Despite major achievements, the situation of women and girls still remains fragile and is a serious concern for the Government of Afghanistan. Cases of violence against women, forced marriages, worsening security situation in some parts of the country, threats of violent extremism and terrorism coupled with poverty are among the main factors that put women and girls in a challenging condition. The Government of Afghanistan is strongly committed to continue its fight  against all these issues and provide a safe environment for all Afghan women and girls, who make up half of our country’s population, and are heavily invested in creating a peaceful and stable Afghanistan with equal rights for all.

I thank you.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan