April 3, 2012 by Afghan Mission
At the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People are meeting on 3-4 April to discuss the question of Palestine, the situation of Palestinian political prisoners, legal and political implications of Israeli prisons and detention facilities, and the role of the international community.
As Vice Chair of the Committee, H.E. Zahir Tanin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN is in attendance. Other participants include representatives of UN Member States and Observers, intergovernmental organizations, UN entities, academia, civil society organizations and the media.
At the opening session, Maxwell Gaylard, Deputy UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, delivered a message from Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.Â He stated that, â€œthe Middle East peace process is at a dangerous impasse. Â The target date set by the Quartet for an agreement by the end of this year remains the objective. Â The Quartet will continue to work toward this goal. In parallel, we must all do our part to bolster the Palestinian Authority and ensure progress on State-building and addressing the dire financial situation of the Palestinian Authority.â€ Abdou Salam Diallo, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and the Issa Quaraqe, Minister of the Palestinian Authority for Prisonersâ€™ Affairs also spoke at the opening session.
This afternoon, a meeting was held the first of three thematic discussions set out in its agenda, on humanitarian and legal aspects of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities.Â H.E. Ambassador Zahir Tanin chaired the first thematic discussion.
Speaking at the first thematic discussion were; Khaled Quzmar, Legal Consultant for Defense for Children International, Ahmad Shreem, Palestinian Legislative Council, Jan Borgen, Deputy Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists, Mohammed Albatta, Director-General of the Rehabilitation Programme, Ministry of Prisonersâ€™ Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, and Lama Odeh Sharif, Psycho-Social Supervisor at the Rehabilitation Programme, Young Menâ€™s Christian Association, East Jerusalem
The meeting will conclude after two plenaries on 4 April.
Remarks By H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to welcome you all. The moments captured in the film, from near and far, depict the magical beauty of high mountains and the allure of the wild nature, the faces of people, and reality of everyday life in my country, a land that has endured a long suffering.Â Â But as the film says, despite all tragedies it does not change the fact that a flower still blossoms every Spring from the garden. It appears to echo what the poet and great son of Balkh, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi said:Â â€œDid you hear that winter is over?…the trees reach out their congratulations.â€
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we, a collective of twelve countries from the heart of Asia, have come together to celebrate Nowruz for the third time, in this august hall at the United Nations. I would like to thank all the Ambassadors and colleagues who made this event possible, particularly Ambassador Khazaee, and the Permanent Mission of Iran for taking on the lionâ€™s share of the burden.
We belong to different countries, speak various languages, are dispersed across geographical boundaries, yet, what unites us is our past, our history and our tradition. Nowruz symbolizes a â€œCultural Continent,â€ the lines of which are drawn from the dawn of history. The frontier of our â€œCultural Continentâ€ extends from the Indian Ocean, to the mountains of the Caucasus, from the valleys of the Hindu Kush, to the desserts of Arab lands and to the perimeter of Europe. The tradition of Nowruz, and the historical beliefs and cultural rituals which are built around it, have not only united us in the past but also take us forward into the future.
Our â€œCultural Continentâ€â€™s spring, unlike the mega-intifadas of the Arab lands, is about bringing us together in the heart of Asia in a spirit of cooperation, togetherness and solidarity for a better tomorrow. It is not only political or economic collaboration; it is more, it is cultural and â€œcivilizational,â€ a process which is inspired by our shared values.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
New Yorkâ€™s mild winter was a stark contrast this year to my countryâ€™s harsh one, during which the Afghan people struggled to overcome inclement winter conditions. Tragically, hundreds this year did not survive, and many more also suffered not only at the hands of a cruel winter, but also from brutal violence. With the arrival of spring there will be no new victims of Winter, and the Afghan people wait for a greater Spring, filled with new hopes and aspirations.
We know that we are not alone in our aspiration for peace in the New Year and that this hope is shared by many, including all of you here tonight. We are pleased to be joined by the representatives of many countries, to take part in our wonderful tradition. For we do not only see this as a new beginning for us, but believe that this new Spring will also reinvigorate the lifelines between the countries of the world, because Springâ€™s revitalization is, in fact, universal.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let us all welcome Spring together, and allow ourselves a moment to be in awe of its grandeur, like the great poet, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi Balkhi when he said â€œ[a]gainÂ theÂ seasonÂ ofÂ SpringÂ hasÂ come. And Spring/source rises under everything. AÂ moonÂ slidingÂ fromÂ theÂ shadows.â€