Saturday, November 25, 2017

Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict meeting

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
at the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict meeting

Mr. Chairman,

Please allow me to begin by thanking you for convening today’s meeting on children in armed conflict and for inviting me to speak on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan.  I wish to further extend appreciation for the great efforts of the working group in developing conclusions on the basis of the Secretary General’s report on the situation of children in Afghanistan and for taking into account our concerns.

The Government of Afghanistan views the role of the Security Council as important in protecting the rights of children during armed conflict. We are committed to implementing all relevant Security Council Resolutions concerning the protection of children, including 1612 and to taking all measures to ensure the protection of Afghan children.

Mr. Chairman,

As the working group gathers to formally adopt its conclusions, I have the honor of reflecting upon its findings and recommendations.  The Afghan Government shares the sentiment of the Working Group in responding favorably to the Secretary General’s report.  We have begun to implement the Action Plan signed by the Afghan Government and the UN Country Task Force on monitoring and reporting regarding Children Associated with National Security Forces in Afghanistan on 30 January 2011.  The Afghan Government is currently providing training to the relevant Ministry focal points which conduct periodic field visits throughout the country.

Mr. Chairman,

The Government of Afghanistan, in close cooperation with NATO and ISAF, is working fervently to review and eliminate isolated incidences of recruitment of young people which took place mistakenly and in violation of our national law.

Furthermore, Shura Ulema, the Religious Council of Afghanistan, has issued a Fatwa, or religious decree, declaring the sexual abuse of young boys by adults reflected in terms of Bacha Baazi as well as recruitment of children under the age of 18 to be against Islamic values.  Any misuse of children or form of sexual violence against children is considered a crime punishable by law.  The Government has taken necessary steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of Bacha Baazi and to implement serious punishments.  This practice has been sensationalized widely by media sources who are hungry for attention-grabbing stories.  While the tragedy of sexual abuse of children is not limited to Afghanistan, in our country it is an unfortunate effect of the protracted absence of law enforcement institutions.  We are firmly committed to ending this immoral and anti-Islamic practice.

Mr. Chairman,

We share the conviction of the Working Group that it is necessary to respect the rules of international humanitarian law. However, we wish to emphasize, in this regard, the need to differentiate between the various actors involved, in line with our response to the use of the terminology, “all parties to the conflict,” in the Secretary General’s Report. The Government of Afghanistan, as well as NATO and ISAF have all reaffirmed their commitments to international humanitarian law. On the other hand, terrorist groups in Afghanistan and the region have continually and brutally disregarded such international norms and should not be categorized with international nor Government actors.

Mr. Chairman,

The Government of Afghanistan shares the deep concern expressed by the Working Group about the continued violations and abuses of Afghan children in the context of terrorist and non-State armed groups using children in suicide attacks and as human shields, as well as about the growing number of school children attacked directly by the Taliban and other groups. Just yesterday, a 12 year old boy who had been brainwashed by the Taliban was tragically used in a suicide attack to kill four civilians.  We, the Afghan Government and International Community, must redouble our efforts to ensure that these horrendous acts against the children of Afghanistan come to an end.

We recognize the concern of the Working Group in relation to children detained by the Afghan Government. However, I wish to emphasize that those children who have been detained due to their association with armed groups are detained separately from adults.  The Afghan Juvenile Rehabilitation Center is a separate facility and therefore detainees are not meant to undergo the same procedures as adults.

Following the fall of the Taliban, the Government of Afghanistan has taken numerous key steps to protect the rights of Afghan children, including the reform of the juvenile justice system. In order to guarantee the best interests of the children, as well as to comply with ratified international standards, a new Juvenile Code with eight chapters and sixty-six articles was promulgated. Decree No. 46 endorsed and enacted the Juvenile Code of Afghanistan. According to the new Juvenile Code, the minimum age of criminal responsibility was changed from 7 to 13 years of age. Afghanistan adopted the Juvenile Code – Procedural Law for Dealing with Children in Conflict with the Law in March 2005 incorporating the basic principles of juvenile justice as expressed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mr. Chairman,

The Government of Afghanistan welcomes the efforts of the Working Group and appreciates the concerns of International Community toward the plight of Afghan children.  We look forward to further cooperation with the Working Group and relevant UN bodies in our implementation of the Action Plan. The children of Afghanistan need all of our efforts and cooperation in order to provide an environment that every child deserves, one in which they are safe to thrive in pursuit of their dreams.

I thank you.

Statement By Mr. M .Wali Naeemi Minister Counsellor and Reporter of the 4th Committee, UNGA-65 At the 4th Committee Meeting on UNRWA

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to thank you for organizing this meeting and I also wish to thank the Commissioner-General for his self-explanatory and informative briefing on the situation and activities of the UNRWA.

It is a great honor for me to speak on behalf of my delegation on this very important issue.

My delegation aligns its statement with the statement delivered on behalf of NAM and welcomes with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on UNRWA, which pointed out very important issues on the financial situation faced by the Agency.

Mr. Chairman,

In November 2010, the Commission-general of UNRWA presented a comprehensive report to the General Assembly, explaining in detail the challenges and constraints that UNRWA is facing at the present time.

Furthermore, he elaborated upon recommendations on necessary steps for the improvement of the Agency’s work at the regional and global-level.

UNRWA has been working for more than 60 years and providing humanitarian assistance and technical support to over 4.7 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

The Agency is running education programs for young Palestinian girls and boys in more than 58 recognized refugee camps; delivering vital medical services throughout the refugee camps; and providing food and immediate assistance, in particular for disabled people, in the refugee camps.

Mr. Chair,

A real improvement in the lives of Palestinian refugees across the region requires a permanent solution with justice and the establishment of two independent states living side by side within the 1967 borders.

The international community’s support to UNRWA is of the utmost importance and must continue until a permanent solution for the long lasting conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is achieved.

In conclusion, while the humanitarian and advocacy character of UNRWA has played a decisive role since its establishment in 1949, it is now more than ever crucial for it to continue its efforts dedicated to the implementation of relief programs and services to all Palestinian refugees.

The continued successful implementation of the Agency’s programs requires the strengthening of its management capacities, an increase in the number of employees, improvement in the quality of work and expansion of the Agency in the areas of education, health, water sanitation, and strengthening the rules and assistance for Palestinians in refugee camps as well as for IDP’s.

In this regard, the grave financial situation of UNRWA, due to 12 % underfunding for the last four biennium and rising costs with refugee numbers approaching 5 million, requires many measures for improving the outlook facing the Agency, including its capacity to utilize voluntary funds more effectively and in a long perspective.

As the Secretary-General already emphasized in his report of 1 February 2011,

“UNRAW needs access to a greater share of predictable, secure funding”.

While the support of traditional donors must be sustained and increased, at the same time the income from non-traditional donors including the public and private sector needs to be enhanced and strengthened.

Hence, the international community and special-financing institutions and other entities must redouble their contribution and assist the agency’s services and programs.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Nowruz Celebration

STATEMENT BY

H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

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

At the General Assembly

Nowruz Celebration

New York

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentleman,

Today we come together from many nations to celebrate Nowruz, an official international day. Last year, the representatives of Azerbaijan, Albania, Macedonia, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan co-sponsored the General Assembly resolution that took Nowruz beyond our national and regional boundaries and brought it here to the heart of the international community. With this, we created a new piece of history for our age-old cultural tradition.  I am honored and humbled to have been among my colleagues as part of that major achievement. As we celebrate Nowruz, the beginning of our New Year from the Balkans to China in the East and to the Himalayas in the South, we join with other colleagues here today in celebrating the beginning of spring for the entire Northern hemisphere.

Nowruz is about a new beginning. It is a rebirth, which comes in the season in which nature plays out the metaphor of renewal in its budding, blossoming return to green.  After months of cold, snow, and perhaps even hibernation, we emerge from our winter slumber across nations and regions to our spring awakening.

The celebration of spring and the vernal equinox is embraced by many cultures and religions. In Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and many other religions and civilizations, this seasonal change is marked with unique traditions all stemming from the same feeling of reinvigoration at the much-anticipated arrival of spring.

This time of renewal also has the potential to become a means of internal and natural reconstruction.  It is a time for personal growth and rebirth of the self.

Nowruz belongs to all of us, an estimated 300 million people who have celebrated this event for more than three thousand years. It came to us as an old and most natural of all festivities, through myths, stories, and history.  The tradition spanned through generations and continues in our time, not as a tradition of an empire or state, but a tradition that goes beyond all boundaries that divide us and reminds us of the common ground that unites us.  This is a tradition that many of our individual cultures enjoy, defining us within the context of a larger, shared culture. While we live within our national boundaries, our cultural landscape has always been greater than the political ones to which we belong.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentleman,

In today’s deeply interconnected world, globalization has had a transformative effect, necessitating cooperation between countries and regions.  It has been first the political or economic interests that underpin this cooperation. However, globalization is only successful when it is rooted in the realization of cultural common ground.  Political and economic cooperation and integration, as shown by the European Union for example, can only be sustained when it is based on a strong cultural foundation. For us, history, including historical traditions like Nowruz, is a part of that common cultural identity.

We are thrilled to celebrate Nowruz with our friends from around the world, and to join with millions of people to honor this time of joyous festivity and renewed hope for a new year, a new season of life. Here in the United Nations, we are not only part of a co-sponsorship of this international day but we all work together for the realization of the noble objectives of peace and cooperation between our nations.  I hope that in celebrating together today we can play a role in bringing about a natural new beginning to our work here in this building by the East River, and reinvigorate our collective efforts for peace around the globe.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan