Friday, July 20, 2018

Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

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

At the Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict

Mr. President

Allow me to begin by expressing my delegation’s gratitude to Viet Nam’s Presidency for convening today’s meeting on Children and Armed Conflict. This meeting provides an opportunity to renew our strong commitment in ensuring the protection and rights of children in armed conflict as well as reviewing progress made in this respect.

We would also like to express our appreciation to Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary General for children and armed conflict, for her visit to Afghanistan and comprehensive statement.

Mr. President,

All children have the same needs and share the same dreams; they represent the future of our societies and mirror the state they live in. The Government of Afghanistan is still making efforts to rebuild its country devastated by 30 years of war which dramatically affected the lives of our children, particularly girls. The major victims of the war in Afghanistan are our children; years of conflict in our country have destroyed basic necessities of life such as schools, health care, adequate shelter, water and food, as well as disrupted family relationships. It has also created stigma and post traumatic distress, generated a spirit of pessimistic outlook about their future.

Afghanistan is strongly committed to reversing the impact of war on children and fulfilling its obligation towards the protection of children. The improvement of the situation of Afghan children and comprehensive protection of their rights is an essential precondition for the sustainable development of our state. It will also lay a solid foundation for our next generation to live in peace, prosperity and enjoy their human rights. Our vision for ensuring the protection and well being of our children is to develop an environment which provides security, guarantee economic and social opportunities and respect the rule of law.

We have achieved considerable progress towards improving the status of children since 2001. Nevertheless today we are facing critical security challenges that jeopardize the gains made in the past 7 years and undermine our collective efforts in improving the living conditions of our children towards a promising and bright future.

Mr. President,

Terrorism constitutes a major threat and drastically affects the daily lives of our people particularly children. The deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan is the product of the surge of terrorist activities carried out by Al Qaida, Taliban and other associated armed groups. Terrorists have increased attacks in our territory, using barbaric acts and methods including the use of car bombs, suicide attacks and improvised explosive devices directed at national and international forces. These attacks deliberately target densely populated areas where children are the prime victims.

Mr. President,

The Taliban are using the most atrocious practice conceivable to conduct their subversive operations. Terrorists are recruiting, training, exploiting children as combatants and sending them to operate as suicide bombers. As Afghan and international security forces become more alerted at recognizing suicide attackers, children are used because they are not generally suspected. It also forms an effective instrument of psychological warfare as the specter of the “child attacker” is as terrifying as it incomprehensible.

The intensification of Taliban intimidation campaign through burning of schools and clinics, disseminating of threatening night notes, attacking of teachers, and school-children has created an atmosphere of terror and traumatizes children from going to schools and ruin their future. Furthermore, it undermines our efforts in achieving development goals aimed at improving the living conditions of our citizens including children and provides a gloomy future for our people.

The state of hopelessness resulting from years of living in conflict and from poor socio – economical conditions, supported by the brainwash indoctrination provided in madrasas across our borders are creating favorable conditions for recruitment and training of innocent children to target a wide spectrum of Afghan and international civilian and military personnel. We are deeply concerned about the loss of rising number of children killed and injured by the Taliban and other terrorist foreign groups.

We would also like to express our grave concern about the loss of lives and injuries of children during counter-terrorism operations, In that regard, we call on our international partners to exercise maximum caution and enhance coordination with Afghan security forces during operations to avoid the loss of civilian life and ensure the safety and physical integrity of children.

Mr. President,

The protection of children in armed conflict is one of the most daunting humanitarian and security challenges facing the International Community today. Addressing the socio economic needs of children in armed conflict and ensuring their rights requires an integrated strategy with a special focus on poverty alleviation especially among the most vulnerable segment of our society including widows and orphans. Successful implementation of such a strategy requires full cooperation and coordination between the Government of Afghanistan and development partners as well as the United Nations agencies. We would like to call on all donor countries and development agencies to assist us achieve sustainable development, poverty eradication, and good governance.

Thank you Mr. President.

ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review

Kazakhstan’s National Voluntary Presentation:
National Report on the Achievement of Kazakhstan’s strategic priorities to 2030
in the light of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Statement made by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin,
Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Mr. President,
Let me begin by congratulating H.E. Deputy Foreign Minister, Nurlan Danenov, for his presentation and for sharing Kazakhstan’s experiences and progress made towards the implementation of its national development strategy with a view to achieving the MDGs. This presentation is especially interesting and opportune for Afghanistan which has launched its own National Development Strategy (ANDS) during the recent Paris Conference of June 12.
Mr. President,
We are pleased that Kazakhstan has developed a national development strategy -“Kazakhstan-2030. Prosperity, security and improved living standards for all Kazaks – This strategy identifies its development priorities and outlines sectoral programmes to achieve them. We are impressed by the progress made by Kazakhstan since the adoption of their National Development Strategy towards eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education as well as in the field of sustainable development.
Through its National Development Strategy, Kazakhstan nurtured a favorable environment for investment, stimulating high rates of economic growth which have increased the income of the citizens of Kazakhstan 6.5 times and enabled the government to meet MDG1. Kazakhstan is transforming these economic resources into social development and equitable advancement of its human potential. Kazakhstan has achieved MDG2 by providing primary education for all children, and we welcome its efforts in further guaranteeing free secondary education in State schools and moving towards more sustainable development.
Mr. President,
We would like to draw your attention on the importance of regional cooperation, especially among landlocked countries, as a core strategy for achieving the MDGs.
Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Document prepared by the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations

Afghanistan and Kazakhstan are both landlocked countries facing common challenges in terms of trade opportunities. In our shared aim to achieve the MDGs, the need for an integrated and coherent approach to development must include regional initiatives such as development of transport infrastructure, regional energy cooperation, trade facilitation and border cooperation. These initiatives will provide wider development options through greater access to resources and markets, address shared problem that stretch across borders and take advantage of opportunities for sharing knowledge.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Kazakhstan for its involvement in infrastructure, energy, trade, investment and humanitarian projects in Afghanistan, specifically the construction of the Terrmez – Kabul rail road that would contribute to excellent trade opportunities in the region.
Afghanistan occupies a key strategic location linking Central Asia with South Asia, providing China and the Far East with a direct trade route with the Middles East and Europe. The Regional Economic Cooperation Conference held in Delhi in 2006 recognized the strategically important location of Afghanistan as playing an eminent vital role to the growth prospects of the region as well as increased investment and trade opportunities. It has also acknowledge the importance of a strategy of development specifically for Afghanistan based on cooperation with its neighbors, as a tool to reduce poverty and achieving the MDGs in the whole region. The Delhi Conference further noted the crucial role of Afghanistan in providing a focal point for facilitating greater economic cooperation and integration.
The Afghan Government’s vision is to contribute to regional stability and prosperity and facilitate the enabling conditions for Afghanistan to translate its historic role of land bridge between global and regional actors which will serve mutual interests and benefit from increased trade and export opportunities and create a “win-win” situation for all.
Our free market oriented economy and non protectionist policy environment for global and regional partners contribute to create an environment favorable for attracting investment and empowering Afghanistan to become an integral part of the regional economy. Afghanistan aims to continue to pursue dialogue with neighboring states to enhance and sustain its integration into the regional economy and markets.
Mr. President,
Kazakhstan has progressed significantly and we hope to use their lesson learned in development to achieve our development goals. Kazakhstan sets up a role model for LLDcs on how the national development strategy empowered by prudent and efficient use of natural resources could make great impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.
Thank you for your attention

Security Council Debate on Women, Peace and Security: Sexual Violence in Situations of Armed Conflict

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

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

At the Security Council Debate on Women, Peace and Security: Sexual Violence in Situations of Armed Conflict

Mr. President,

At the outset I would like to thank the United States for organizing this open debate on a very important protection gap, namely sexual and gender based violence in armed conflict and post conflict situations.

Mr. President,

In situations of armed conflict and periods of instability, armed groups often use violence against civilians, especially women, as a deliberate tactic of war. In Afghanistan, the devastating impacts of three decades of armed conflict have particularly affected the most vulnerable part of our population, namely women and children. During this period, the basic rights of Afghan women have been undermined, even denied due to the vicious cycle of violence which allowed groups with power to act with impunity in the face of women’s vulnerability. Under the Taliban’s regime, Afghanistan was a graveyard for human and women’s rights where barbaric atrocities against women constantly occurred. No one can forget the images of the innocent Afghan women being slaughtered in Kabul’s stadium and those images of the inhuman Taliban bludgeoning women in the streets for so called un-virtuous behavior.

Today the results of widespread violence during years of conflict are still affecting private and public spheres of women’s life in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

In several armed conflict situations, acts of sexual and gender based violence were used to humiliate, and forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group. In Afghanistan, sexual violence was not a predominant method employed by armed groups in conflict, due to the strong cultural bounds of the society, however the use of sexual violence was used by some individuals and groups as an instrument of war.

Afghanistan recognizes that sexual and gender based violence is a threat to international peace and security and condemns all sexual and gender based violence committed against civilians in conflict affected situations. We would also like to underscore the necessity of acknowledging that in armed and post conflict countries, the dimension of violence used against women has multiple aspects that extend beyond a sexual nature.

Mr. President,

It has been eight years since the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 and about seven years since the fall of the barbaric regime of the Taliban and the beginning of the peace process, democratization, and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Our vision is a peaceful and progressive nation where women and men enjoy security, equal rights, and opportunities in all spheres of life.

The Government of Afghanistan has made considerable achievements in protecting women from violence and assuring a secure environment where their rights are protected, and their participation in decisions making bodies and in the peace building process is guaranteed.

Afghanistan has undertaken several initiatives in addressing violence against women as embodied in the Constitution, the MDGs, the Afghanistan Compact, the ANDS – recently launched in Paris – and the international treaties. The Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs is leading our efforts in achieving this goal and is chairing the Ministerial Task Force created in 2005 to eliminate all forms of violence against women. We would like to seize this opportunity to express our gratitude to all organizations including UN agencies, especially UNIFEM as well as the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), for assisting us in advancing the status of Afghan women.

Mr. President,

Progress in the process of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants and disbanding armed groups has contributed to minimizing violence against civilian particularly women and children. However, the successful completion of the process will help to create an environment where women will be empowered to exercise their rights.

The Afghan Government recognizes the security sector reform as crucial to strengthen the rule of law, to ensure the protection of women’s rights, to improve law enforcement bodies and to end the culture of impunity. But at the same time, we would like to underscore the need for women to participate in the security sector reform process. In this regard initial steps have been taken by the Ministry of Interior to increase the recruitment of female law-enforcement officers, and to provide gender-sensitivity training in the police academy. Police Family Response Units are staffed by women who are trained to deal with domestic violence and to respond to female victims of crime.

Mr. President,

The escalation of violence and insecurity in some parts of the country as a result of the terrorist activities carried out by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, hinders the implementation of the rule of law and consequently makes women vulnerable to all forms of violence.

Different methods of violence against women are used by the Taliban and Al Qaeda to intimidate, terrorize, and force Afghan women to retreat from public activities and limit their access to health care, education, justice and economic and social endeavors, especially in the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan.

The terrorist campaign of the Taliban and Al Qaeda’s has particularly affected girl’s school enrollment and attendance, schools are burned and female teachers and students are attacked and threatened.

The legacy of the long conflict including access to weapons, difficulty in stabilization efforts and the rampant poverty is reflected in self immolation, forced marriage, domestic and other forms of violence in some parts of the country. In order to be successful in our efforts to eliminate these practices, we request the international community to continue their assistance to strengthening our national capacities in ensuring a secure environment, improving economic and social conditions and implementing human rights and the rule of law in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Protection of civilians, including women, is highlighted as an inherent part of the ISAF – NATO led mission operating in Afghanistan, we would like to emphasize on the need to integrate specific strategies for the better

protection of women from all forms of violence including sexual violence. We also encourage peacekeeping forces to receive gender sensitivity pre-deployment training.

Mr. President,

Sustainable peace in Afghanistan can’t be achieved without the participation of half of its population, namely Afghan women. Afghanistan recognizes the importance of women’s positive contribution to conflict prevention, conflict resolution and the promotion of peace and security. As Secretary General Ban Ki Moon justly stated this morning the most effective way to combat violence against women is to make women messengers of peace instead of victims of violence and this reflects our vision for Afghan Women.

Thank you for your attention.

Permanent Mission of Afghanistan