Saturday, December 16, 2017

Advancement of Women

STATEMENT BY H.E. Mahmoud Saikal 

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

Statement at the 3rd Committee on Agenda Item 28: Advancement of Women

(Check against delivery)

 

6 October 2017

NEW YORK

 

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan is witnessing an unprecedented involvement of women in all aspects of life. Today, the voice of Afghan women is much stronger than before as they continue to play an important  role, both in socioeconomic development and political realm. I am happy to inform this gathering that at present there are 69 elected women in parliament, four female ministers, 9 female deputy-ministers, and 5 female ambassadors. Moreover, at institutional level, many bodies have been established to reflect Afghanistan’s ratification of significant international human rights conventions. Such institutions include the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Commission on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Attorney General Office for Violence Against Women, and the independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan.

Additionally, in striving to eradicate discrimination and violence against women, an Anti-Harassment Law was passed recently, criminalizing harassment of women in both the workplace and in public. Additionally, the Family Law is being reformed which will increase the age of marriage to 18 years.

Furthermore, the continued commitment to involving women in peace building and leadership positions is exemplified by the Afghan Government’s adoption of the National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325. The Action Plan covers a comprehensive range of societal issues, including access to support for violence survivors, engaging boys and men in fighting violence against women, ending impunity for crimes against women, increasing female education and employment, and support for civil society, to name a few issues. 

We are happy to report to this committee that women’s access to education has significantly improved since 2001. Of the 9.5 million students enrolled in primary and secondary schools, 40% are girls; this was almost zero before 2001.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF), recognizes women’s empowerment as one of the main pillars in advancing the country towards sustainable development, economic growth, and prosperity.

Under the ANPDF, economic empowerment of women is a National Priority Program. The program will provide start-up technical and financial support, job skills and financial literacy to women-owned businesses. These will be delivered through the existing mechanisms and institutions, focusing on scaling-up successful interventions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the tremendous gains that have been made, Afghan women still disproportionately feel the burden of chronic conflict and resulting trauma, poverty, and poor infrastructure. The worsening security situation in some parts of the country, due to threats from terrorists and violent extremists, shows the difficulties Afghan women face today. We recognize that in Afghanistan, there is a long way to go; however we remain extremely motivated in the promotion and protection of women’s rights, recognizing women’s advancement as inextricably linked to the nation’s social advancement and sustainable economic development. This commitment to the advancement of women, and human rights more broadly, has motivated Afghanistan’s candidacy for the Human Rights Council 2018-2020. Our membership in the Council will allow Afghanistan as a country in the forefront of the international fight against terrorism and extremism to share its human rights gains and experiences with international community, particularly the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary bodies and mechanisms.

I thank you.

General Debate of the Second Committee of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly

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 Second Committee of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly

(Check against delivery)

3 October 2017

NEW YORK

Madam Chair,

At the outset, let me congratulate Ambassador Sven Jürgenson of Estonia for his Chairmanship of the Second Committee. I also congratulate all members elected to serve in the Bureau. Using this opportunity, I wish to assure you of Afghanistan’s full support and cooperation as you lead the work of the 2nd Committee. 

I also wish to commend you predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Dian Triansyah Djani of the Republic of Indonesia, and his bureau for their tireless efforts and successful leadership of the Second Committee during the last session.

My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered by Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Bangladesh on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, and Zambia on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries. I would now like to deliver some remarks in my national capacity.

Madam Chair,

Two years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, it is crucial we decisively tackle the outstanding challenges we have in front of us. As mentioned in the Report of the Secretary-General on the Progress Towards the SDGs, the pace of implementation must be accelerated, given the urgency of these challenges, particularly for developing countries.

Despite the significant challenges Afghanistan is facing as the forefront of the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, we are fully committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Working in close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, my Government has designed the streamlining of the SDGs into the Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF 2017-2021). Holding true to the spirit of an Agenda “of the people,  by the people and for the people”, Afghanistan is taking the necessary steps to make sure each community is involved first hand in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening our sense of national ownership in the development process. These steps, along with our future roadmap of implementation, have been presented during last July’s High-level Political Forum, where my delegation undertook its Voluntary National Review, sharing achievements, challenges, and lessons learned with the international community.

Madam Chair,

Countries in conflict and post-conflict situations have always faced unique challenges in achieving sustainable development; we have witnessed that conflict not only impedes but reverses decades of development gains. The theme of this year’s General Debate: “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet” aptly captures the relation of deep interdependence between sustainable development and a peaceful world. The deliberations and actions of this committee will play an important role in strengthening the nexus between peace and development in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

We believe it is essential to stay true to our commitment to “leave no one behind” and keep our focus on the “poorest, most vulnerable, and those furthest behind”. In this regard, we would like to express our concern that LDCs, forming one quarter of the UN membership, remain far below many of the targets of the SDGs, as reflected in the Report of the Secretary-General on the Progress Towards the SDGs. The success of the 2030 Agenda will depend for the most part on the progress made by LDCs in the next 13 years. In this regard, we call on the international community to follow through to its commitments, strengthening our collective efforts.

We would also like to stress that addressing the high trade costs faced by the LLDCs is important to facilitate their integration into the global economy, and that in LLDCs infrastructure deficit, including in transport, ICTs and energy infrastructure remains high, hampering landlocked countries’ prospects for development.

Madam Chair,

We reiterate that Official Development Assistance (ODA) continues to be a critical source of financing for the development of the Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries, and we express our concern for the decline in nominal terms of ODA to LDCs and LLDCs. In this regard, we call upon all development partners to fulfill the ODA-related internationally agreed targets, and we express encouragement to those providers allocating at least 50 per cent of their ODA to Least Developed Countries.

We welcome the establishment and operationalization of the Technology Bank for the LDCs, and we sincerely thank the Government of Turkey for its leadership and generosity. We call on development partners to mobilize resources for its sustenance and effective functioning, in line with SDG 17.8, as science, technology and innovation can be game-changing tools for furthering development in the LDCs.

Madam Chair,

We welcome the process of follow-up to the implementation of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review led by the Deputy Secretary General, and we appreciate its inclusive and transparent nature. In reaffirming our commitment to engage constructively in the reform of the UN development system, we would like to reiterate our conviction that it is crucial to shape a UN development system in which the nexus between peace and development is strengthened, building on, among others, the sustaining peace resolutions.

Madam Chair,

In conclusion, I would like to reassure you of my delegation’s constructive engagement throughout the discussion of this session of the Committee.

Thank you Madam Chair.

Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism

STATEMENT BY H.E. Mahmoud Saikal

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

Statement at the 6th Committee on Agenda Item 109: Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism 

(Check against delivery)

3 October 2017

NEW YORK

Mr. Chairman,

We congratulate you and the members of the Bureau on your election and we assure you of Afghanistan’s full support and cooperation as you lead the work of the 6th Committee.

We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC group.  This year again, the 6th Committee deliberates on agenda item: measures to eliminate international terrorism.  We do so at a time when this enemy of humanity has grown even larger in threat, scope and danger – taking new forms and manifestations.

As President Ghani stated in his address to the UN General Assembly two weeks ago: “Terrorism is not only an attack on human life and basic freedoms, but an attack on the compact of citizenship, and an attack on nation state’s relationship with its people which makes democratic societies unique, fair and free.”

This underscores the imperative of a more effective global response, underpinned by the obvious fact that in combating terrorism, we are striving to advance the well-being and security of all of humanity.

Today, Afghanistan remains the front line state in the world’s fight against international terrorism – an evil that is alien to Afghan values, customs and traditions, throughout the history of our nation.  Our struggle against this global menace is ingrained in the social fabric of our society.   Despite the complexity of the task at hand, we are making steady progress in combating this evil. 

As we speak, Afghan security forces are battling terrorist groups who have come from abroad, and are intent on keeping Afghanistan unstable.  In this effort, our forces have – in different parts of the country – inflicted major losses in the ranks of terrorist and violent extremist groups – be it the Taliban, Daesh, Al-Qaeda or other such entities. This effort continues with great progress, under our National Security Strategy, of which the fight against terrorism remains a key pillar.

Having suffered setbacks, these groups have now shifted tactics, focusing on barbaric attacks in populated areas; on ordinary Afghans; public figures, mosques, as well as well as international security and civilian personnel serving to promote stability and prosperity in our country. This signals the absolute moral bankruptcy of the terrorist groups. Needless to say, our fight against terrorism is a work in progress, demanding the continued support of the international community.

Outside the battlefield, we are working closely with regional countries, bilaterally, trilaterally and through other mechanisms and forums, including the Heart of Asia and Kabul Processes to tackle the threat of terrorism and other transnational criminal activities, plaguing Afghanistan and our region.    

Mr. Chairman,

Reversing the tide against terrorism warrants a more effective response by the United Nations.  The creation of the Office of Counter-Terrorism (OCT), led by Ambassador Voronkov, is an important development.  We hope the new Office will function in a manner that will positively impact the implementation of all 4 Pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Yesterday I had a fruitful meeting with Ambassador Voronkov and I was pleased with our discussion.

Afghanistan has presented its recommendations on the activities of the said Office, and hope they will be duly reflected for the benefit of a more successful counter-terrorism response by the UN.

Moreover, we believe renewed focus must be given to the implementation of SC resolutions dealing with terrorism and extremism.  The 1267, 1373 and 1988 Committees provide a strong basis for suppressing the capacity, resources and other enablers that empower terrorists to continue their viscous campaign. All States must apply a blanket condemnation of all terrorist elements without any distinction; and prevent any form of support to terrorist, including safe-havens and moral, material and financial aid.

Afghanistan joins other countries in expressing our concern over the impasse in finalizing the “Draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.”  All outstanding issues should be resolved in the interest of a crucial imperative: strengthening the UN’s counter-terrorism architecture.

In conclusion, we look forward to enhancing our collaboration with all member-states on strengthening international cooperation to defeat international terrorism. We will do so in the context of our strategic partnership agreements and also within the framework of the UN’s counter-terrorism initiatives.    

Thank You Mr. Chairman.       

 

                               

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan