Monday, February 20, 2017

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.

Statement by H.E. Mahmoud Saikal Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the General Debate of the First Committee 71st Session

 

(Please check against delivery)

NEW YORK

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of this session. My delegation is fully committed to the successful fulfillment of the work of the Committee, and assures you of our full support and cooperation.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

My Government has recently adopted the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF), a five-year strategic plan for achieving self-reliance. The Plan focuses on three areas: reconciliation, security, and stability. We have also adopted a five-year National Campaign Plan to increase the mobility and effectiveness of our security forces. Improvements to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are critical not only for securing our country against armed extremist groups, sent from outside, but also for reducing criminality such as extortion, kidnapping, and illegal seizure, which have become huge disincentives to business investment.

Presence of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Explosive Remnant of War (ERW) and landmines pose a severe threat to the lives of Afghan people and impede development activities. Each month, more than 100 civilians are victims of IEDs, landmines and ERW. Unfortunately, Afghanistan still remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

According to UN reports, sustained financing is critical for the Mine Action Program in Afghanistan (MAPA) to declare Afghanistan mine-free by 2023 in line with its obligations under the Anti Personnel Mine Ban Treaty (APMBT). Achieving this goal would be historic for Afghanistan and the world, given the scope of the problem.

Mr. Chairman,

The mass illicit trafficking of arms, mainly small and light weapons, along the Durand Line which has enabled terrorists and violent extremists to cause Afghan people tremendous suffering for decades must be put to an end. The savage attacks in populated urban centers showcase the cowardly behavior of the terrorist groups and their supporters to compensate for their so-called spring and summer offensive’s losses. We have evidence that most of these attacks were orchestrated outside Afghanistan. Last month, we seized two trailer trucks entering Afghanistan from Pakistan with 35,700 kg of ammonium nitrate – an amount nearly twenty times larger than what was used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. This would have caused enormous threat to lives and property if the attack was carried out. Therefore, states must be responsible to control the access of precursors and weapons to terrorists and violent extremists. We call on all relevant parties to further strengthen their rules and regulations to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation believes and reiterates its commitment to multilateral diplomacy as a crucial principle for advancing the global disarmament agenda. To achieve the goal of arms control, reduction, disarmament, and total elimination of all types of Weapons of Mass Destruction, including nuclear weapons, there is an urgent need for all sides to demonstrate political will. In this context, it is imperative that the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran fulfill their commitments to implement the agreement that was concluded successfully last year.

Afghanistan, as the state party to Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty calling for the total elimination of nuclear weapons as well as weapons of mass destruction, strongly supports all initiatives in the sphere of nuclear disarmament. We support all initiatives that could lead to de-escalation of recent tensions between nuclear neighboring states in our region.

Afghanistan strongly urges all states to fulfill their international responsibilities in signing, ratifying, and actively supporting all efforts to promote the goals of all multilateral treaties relating to disarmament and non-proliferation. In this context, my delegation also condemns in strongest terms the recent nuclear test conducted by North Korea.

We express our deep disappointment at the failure to convene a conference on the establishment of the Middle East as a zone free of Nuclear Weapons and all Weapons of Mass Destruction. As the political turmoil in the Middle East threatens to spill over into its neighboring regions, Afghanistan wishes to highlight the need for immediate action by the international community to prevent looming humanitarian and political catastrophe and overcome ongoing diplomatic stalemate.

Afghanistan is extremely disturbed by the humanitarian threat posed by continued existence of nuclear weapons, and the possibility of their use, intentionally or accidentally. It is for this reason that we welcome the outcome of the third and final Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which recognizes that total elimination of all nuclear weapons is the only definite safeguard against a catastrophic nuclear explosion.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to reiterate that Afghanistan is gravely concerned about the continued use of Improvised Explosive Devices – IEDs around the globe. IEDs are responsible for thousands of civilian casualties every day. They have become the primary weapon for non-state armed groups in many conflicts. Their impact on the security and stability of states are profound, as they not only damage the political, social, and economic development of a country, but also prevent the ability of necessary humanitarian aid to reach affected areas. Due to the lack of a comprehensive, systematic approach to counter the use of IEDs, which is relatively simple in its manufacturing, acquirement, and transfer, my delegation tabled a resolution last year that was adopted by consensus. My delegation is thankful to all who supported this important resolution.

In pursuant to the resolution, the Secretary General of the United Nations has issued his report and we thank him for it. My delegation will soon start informal consultations on the follow up draft resolution; therefore we seek further cooperation and support of the member states, so that the resolution could be adopted by consensus.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation notes with concern that despite the many positive developments in the work of international diplomacy for the disarmament of nuclear weapons, we still face threats to human security and sustainability of an unprecedented nature. The global and regional climate of terrorism and violent extremism have made the call for nuclear disarmament as well as elimination of weapons of mass destruction, including small and light arms even more urgent.

Thank you.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan