Thursday, April 19, 2018

H.E. Dr. ZahirTanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, Re-Appointed as Chair of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

The President of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, has re-appointed H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN, to serve as Chairman of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform.

The re-appointment of Ambassador Tanin, which was among the first decisions taken by the President of the General Assembly since his election by UN member-states early this month, places Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN at the lead of the inter-governmental negotiations on Security Council for a fourth consecutive year.

During his tenure as chair of the inter-governmental negotiations, Ambassador Tanin has received the support of a wide-range of UN member-states, which comprise the five main regional groups in which the 193 countries represented are categorized.

Ambassador Tanin’s re-appointment ensures continuity in an on-going process, aimed at achieving a more democratic, representative and efficient Security Council; better able to address the many challenges confronting international peace and security.

High Level Meeting on Youth

Statement  of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Delivered by Mr. Ahmad Zahir Faqiri  Minister, Deputy Permanent Representative
At the General Assembly  High Level Meeting on Youth

Mr. President,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this timely High level Youth Forum highlighting the International year of Youth.

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Afghan Government, I would like to stress the need for further effort to support young people in developing their capacity to tackle the challenges they face. Let me emphasize that the primary responsibility for ensuring youth development lies with states. Today I will address both the challenges ahead for Afghan youth and achievements accomplished thus far.

Mr. President,

Afghanistan is a country of youth. 68% of the population is below 25 years of age. The bulk of the population is to a certain extent deprived of their fundamental rights, including but not limited to lack of educational and employment opportunities. The situation of Afghan girls is of particular concern – under traditional pressures they enter early marriage and early pregnancy, contributing to Afghanistan’s dire MMR and IMR.

Youth literacy rates are low; 50% for boys and 18% for girls; secondary school enrollments are respectively 23% and 7%, and less than 2% of the Afghan population reaches higher education.

Faced with these challenges, Afghan youth are at risk. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by unemployment, low wages, lack of safety and security, poverty and lack of medical care, making youth particularly at risk to recruitment to armed opposition and terrorist organizations.

Mr. President,

In the face of these challenges, we should not lose sight of the progress made thus far.  To date, more than seven millions boys and girls are enrolled in schools, investing in their futures.  We have constructed more than 4,000 schools across the country; we predict to have Fourteen million children enrolled in schools by 2020; and in a country where practically no girls received education just ten years ago, over 40 percent of these new students will be girls. Additionally, the great majority of Afghanistan’s population has access to basic health-care, showing great progress over the last ten years.

It is worth mentioning that a considerable percentage of the Afghan parliament are comprised of young representatives, almost entire of the news agencies, TVs broadcasting, monthly magazines are running by the young generation in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to fulfilling its responsibility to protect the rights of all youth and to addressing violations of youth’s rights. We have initiated a number of important steps at the national, regional and international levels. This includes the launch of a National Youth Programme, which reiterates our commitment to the development of the sons and daughters of Afghanistan and seeks to establish an opportunity for Afghan youth to fulfill their aspirations.

Mr. President,

This generation of youth in my country, having experienced conflict and exile, now they must be empowered with alternative opportunities. Their fresh perspectives, their energy, enthusiasm and determination must be guided for promoting peace and development in Afghanistan.

I wish to conclude by joining the previous speakers to express the condolences of the Afghan government and Afghan people to the Mission of Norway and through them to the people of Norway on the recent act of terror which caused dozens of casualties.

I thank you.

For your attention

Security Council debate on Children And Armed Conflict

Statement By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Security Council debate

on

Children And Armed Conflict

12 July 2011

New York

Mr. President,

I thank you for convening today’s debate, which offers us all an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the protection of the security, rights, and well-being of children in armed conflicts. I also wish to extend my appreciation to Mr. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, and Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary General, for their remarks.

Mr. President,

The legacy of war and violence has left a devastating impact in my country. Violence still takes its toll on everyday life. It happened today in Kandahar.  As President Karzai stated after the loss of his brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, the head of Kandahar Provincial Council, “This is the life of all Afghan people; I hope these miseries which every Afghan family faces will one day end.” Sadly, such miseries are ongoing and this includes children. Children continue to bear the brunt of conflict in Afghanistan. They are among the growing number of civilian casualties; and their ability to live safe, healthy and prosperous lives remains in jeopardy.

There is no war zone in Afghanistan; there are no front lines. Violent attacks take place in our villages, markets and public streets, and put Afghan children at risk as they attempt to live normal lives. Forty-four percent of all child-casualties are caused by IED explosions and suicide attacks, which are increasingly intended for soft targets such as civilian roads, schools, and health clinics.  Children, women and other vulnerable groups are the prime victims of such attacks.

Mr. President,

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to fulfilling its responsibility to protect the rights of all children and to addressing violations of children’s rights.  We have initiated a number of important steps, including the launch of an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee, mandated to develop and implement our National Action Plan, which seeks to prevent the recruitment and use of children in our national security forces, and address all forms of violence against children. Our efforts are geared towards meeting our obligations for child protection.

We are working closely with the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting, and the Security Council Working Group on Child Protection to protect children’s rights to security, education and health care. I take the opportunity to welcome the working group’s recent visit to Afghanistan, led by Ambassador Wittig, during which important discussions were held with relevant government entities to enhance progress in the lives of Afghan children.

Mr. President,

We all must address the disturbing rise in child-suicide bombers employed by extremist militant groups. Recent reports of terrorist networks training and selling children to militant groups for suicide bombings are gross violations of children’s rights in all countries.

A child’s vulnerability, from knowing nothing outside of a war-torn existence, is not up for exploitation in war; a child’s innocence is not fair game for fighting strategy; and most importantly, a child’s body is not a weapon for war, by the standards of the constitution of Afghanistan or by international law. The use of these children in suicide attacks is a heinous crime which must be addressed with firm conviction.

By the same token, Mr. President, we believe it is essential to avoid equating the Afghan government with the terrorists when considering the challenges facing Afghan children. Attacks against children, and violations of their fundamental rights are the work of those who are continuing their campaign against peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Violence against children through sexual, physical and domestic abuse is an abomination and against national law. Sexual violence, including pederasty in its local form, which is widely sensationalized in media reports, is a crime that incurs serious punishments under the Afghan legal system. Though such problems are not unique to Afghanistan, we are taking all necessary steps to stop this illegal, un-Islamic, and immoral practice.

Mr. President,

The widespread poverty afflicting the country is also a threat to the safety and security of Afghanistan’s children. Over seven million Afghan children are living under the poverty line. Poverty plunges underage children into the labor force in both Afghanistan’s cities and the countryside. Their struggle to be bread-winners deprives many children of the opportunities to pursue an education and build a brighter future.

In the face of these challenges, we should not lose sight of the progress made thus far.  To date, more than seven millions boys and girls are enrolled in schools, investing in their futures.  We have constructed more than 4,000 schools across the country; we predict to have nine million children enrolled in schools by 2020; and in a country where practically no girls received education just ten years ago, over 40 percent of these new students will be girls. Additionally, the great majority of Afghanistan’s population has access to basic health-care, showing great improvement over the last ten years.

Nevertheless, Mr. President, we have yet to overcome our challenges. We look forward to our continued partnership with the international community to improve security, and ensure prosperity in the lives and futures of Afghan children. Our international partnerships will remain intact throughout transition as the Afghan Government is beginning to assume its leadership role; therefore, we are not alone in our successes, nor are we alone in our failures. We share responsibility for the security of children in Afghanistan, who need and deserve an environment free of indiscriminate violence to pursue their full potential.

I thank you.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan