Saturday, December 3, 2016

Promotion and protection of human rights

Statement by G. Seddiq Rasuli Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations

At the Third Committee under Agenda Item 68: Promotion and protection of  human rights

NEW YORK

 

Madam Chair,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Thank you for organizing today’s important meeting on the promotion and protection of human rights. I would like to present the following points on the topic and its relevance for my delegation.

1.  Promotion and protection of human rights is a constitutional obligation of the Government of Afghanistan and we are strongly committed to its full realization. Unfortunately, growing threats of terrorism and violent extremism continue to challenge the very principles of freedom and human rights in Afghanistan.

2. Despite continued security challenges, the people and Government of Afghanistan are determined to preserve the gains made over the past sixteen years. We are strongly motivated to build upon these gains by creating an environment where peace and security prevails, justice and rule of law is preserved, and human rights respected.

3.  In this regard, we have developed a sustainable reform agenda for the country that incorporates good governance in all sectors, with promotion and protection of human rights at its core. On October 5th, at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, the Government of Afghanistan launched Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) which sets out Afghanistan’s Strategic Policy Priorities towards achieving self-reliance. ANPDF underscores the urgency of reducing poverty by creating employment and addressing widespread problems such as child malnutrition, access to education and healthcare, food insecurity, poor sanitation, and conflict related impoverishment, which intrinsically improves the overall situation of human rights in the country.

4. The issue of promotion and protection of human rights is one of the main pillars of our National Priority Programs (NPPs); further, women’s economic empowerment plays a crucial role in the successful implementation of our NPPs. In addition, Afghanistan has also launched its National Action Plan on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security at the end of 2015. The Plan aims to increase women’s active participation in decision making across sectors, especially in executive levels of the civil service, access to healthcare and psychosocial support for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, improved education and employment opportunities, protection of women and girls from all types of violence and discrimination  as well as women’s participation in the  peace process and security sectors.

5. Afghanistan ranks number four in freedom of speech in our region. Recently, the Government of Afghanistan issued a new decree on Acceess to Information which would further strengthen our young democracy through promoting freedom of expression.

6.  Corruption has impacted good governance and the rule of law in our country and to curb this menace, the Government of Afghanistan has strengthened anti-corruption measures and taken a number of concrete steps to improve access to justice, enhance transparency and accountability, and end the culture of impunity in our country.

 

Madam Chair,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

7.  Afghanistan has a come a long way in the past sixteen years. Since the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan has achieved significant development towards realization of human rights values and principles. As a state party to core international human rights treaties and instruments, Afghanistan has successfully completed and submitted its reports, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Moreover, the provisions of the conventions were also adopted in 10 legislations that were enacted within the past years.

8.  Despite these achievements, multiple challenges persist today and we need to address them to protect and consolidate our gains in Afghanistan. In the past sixteen years, we have been committed to promoting and protecting human rights for all through effective international and regional cooperation. In order to amplify our voice in the global arena, ensure that past achievements are protected and new promises fulfilled, and share our experiences of promoting human rights as a country in the forefront of the international fight against terrorism and violent extremism, Afghanistan is a candidate for the Human Rights Council, and we would really appreciate your support in our endeavour.

 

I thank you.

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions

Statement of The Islamic of Republic of Afghanistan
Delivered by
G. Seddiq Rasuli Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
at the Third Committee
Agenda Item 62:
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to thank Mr. Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for his reports under agenda item 62 and his in-depth statement this afternoon.

I further wish to take this opportunity to express my delegation’s gratitude to the High Commissioner and dedicated staff of UNHCR for their commitment towards protection and assistance of the world’s most vulnerable population, the refugees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs), in particular, their special attention to the plight of Afghan refugees, returnees, and IDPs. We are grateful for that, Mr. High Commissioner.

Mr. Chairman,

Since 2002, more than 5.6 million Afghan refugees have returned to Afghanistan, the vast majority of which have returned from neighboring countries, Iran and Pakistan. This is an encouraging sign that the situation in Afghanistan is improving and Afghan refugees can once again return to their homeland and join their families. However, in spite of the progress made over the past ten years, much remains to be accomplished. The pace of repatriation has slowed substantially relative to previous years. This can be attributed to the dual threats of terrorism and insecurity, widespread poverty, and a challenging humanitarian situation. These have also increased the number of IDPs in the provinces that continue to see the highest levels of insecurity.

Mr. Chairman,

The Government of Afghanistan remains committed to providing for the voluntary, dignified and gradual repatriation and re-integration of our Afghan brothers and sisters who fled our boarders due to years of conflict and violence. Already 4.6 million refugees received aid and since 2005 the Afghan Government has constructed 60 townships in 20 provinces for refugees, and a further 39,000 have been provided with portions of land.

As the security situation improves and people gradually return to Afghanistan, the Government faces a significant challenge to provide adequate shelter, work and healthcare, this is becoming an increasing problem as more Afghans return, with the potential for increased refugee flows in the coming years as Afghanistan becomes more stable and secure. The Government of Afghanistan is strongly committed to do all we can to provide facilities for voluntary, dignified, and gradual repatriation.

Mr. Chairman,

We must not forget that security challenges and threats still remain a reality in Afghanistan and this poses a serious challenge to the sustainable repatriation of refugees. Between June 2009 and September 2010 alone 12,000 people were displaced as a result of insecurity, bringing the total number to over 319,000 Afghan citizens. We must continue our efforts with our international partners to secure Afghanistan for its citizens both inside and outside its borders.

As a result of this continued insecurity we face a reality in which 40% of refugees who have returned to Afghanistan have not been settled yet, where people are trying to return to their homeland seeking a prosperous future only to be faced with despair with the situation and return to their respective countries of refuge. We must work with the international community and UNHCR to seek out new ways and mechanisms to review our returnee’s policy to find a way to provide shelter and easy access to primary services including health care education drinking water and importantly, work opportunities to ensure the sustainable repatriation of Afghans.

Mr. Chairman,

I would also like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of the Government of Afghanistan to our neighboring countries of Pakistan and Iran for being the primary hosts of Afghan refugees for more than 30 years now; we are grateful for that. We have held constructive trilateral meetings with Iran and Pakistan along with UNHCR in May this year recognizing the need to find a comprehensive solution for sustainable voluntary, gradual, dignified repatriation of refugees.

In this regard, Afghanistan, with UNHCR, Pakistan and Iran, is presently developing a multi-year (2012-2014) solutions strategy for Afghan refugees. This strategy will be presented for endorsement by the international community at a stakeholders conference in early 2012.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations At the Sixth Committee on Agenda Item 109: “Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism.”

Mr. Chairman,

I begin my congratulating you and the members of the Bureau on your elections, and assuming the Chairmanship of the Sixth Committee. We are convinced that you and your team will steer the work of the Committee successfully. And we assure you of our full support and cooperation.

We also thank the Secretary General for his comprehensive report, outlining recent national and international efforts in the fight against terrorism; and the Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee, established pursuant to GA resolution 51/210, on the work of its 15th Session.

Mr. Chairman,

Less than a month ago, the United Nations General Assembly observed the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The event was a grim reminder of the loss of life of men, women and children of distinct backgrounds and nationalities on that dark day in history.

The horrific attacks of September the 11th culminated in a robust international partnership to help rid Afghanistan from terrorists and extremists; and to defeat terrorism effectively and resolutely, wherever it existed.  Ten years on, with support from our international partners, the Afghanistan of today is different than that of a decade ago.  The collapse of the tyrannical Taliban regime, supported by their Al-Qaeda allies and other associates, gave way to successive democratic elections, in which Afghans from all walks of life exercised their right to self-determination. We have registered important progress in all spheres of society, social, political and economic, included.  And with the start of Transition in July of this year, we are now on the path towards Afghan ownership and leadership.

Nevertheless, Mr. Chairman, despite our achievements, terrorism has not gone away from the lives of our people. Terrorists are still bent on preventing peace and stability to take root.  The past months have seen a rise in the level of violence; terrorists continue to kill and maim ours school children; our security forces; our tribal and religious elders; our international partners; and our patriotic national figures.

Early this month, the world heard the tragic news of the assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, Chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC), who was killed in a cowardly suicide attack that was planned and orchestrated from outside Afghanistan.

Mr. Chairman,

In the context of a viable solution to the problem of terrorism, we echo, yet again, our long-standing position that the terrorism which has engulfed Afghanistan and our region will not go away without eliminating sanctuaries and safe-havens that are, in fact, the umbilical cord from which the forces of evil are feed and nurtured.

In this connection, it is essential that countries comply with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, calling on States to prevent their territories to be utilized for the planning or preparation of terrorist acts. These include the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism, adopted by UNGA resolution 49/60; as well as SC resolution 1373 of (2001).

Mr. Chairman,

Terrorism has proven its reach across borders and continents, affecting peoples of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. This is evident by acts of terror committed around the world, including my own country Afghanistan, as well as Nigeria, Indonesia, India, Norway and Russia. And it remains crystal clear that a successful fight against terrorism requires a concerted and robust effort, characterized by effective regional and international cooperation.

In this respect, we underscore enhanced measures to implement the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of September 2006, which remains the overall strategic and operational international framework for combating terrorism.
Further, we in Afghanistan attach great importance to the work of counter-terrorism committees, established pursuant to Security Council Resolutions 1267, 1988, 1989, 1373 and 1540 in combating terrorism.  As an active participant in counter-terrorism cooperation, we have submitted our national reports on the implementation of relevant SC resolutions, including resolution 1373.  In the same vein, we acknowledge with appreciation the important work being done by the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED).

As a country which remains forefront in the fight against terrorism, Afghanistan is ever more resilient in our resolve to help defeat this scourge in all its forms and manifestations.   We are party to 13 international conventions and protocols dealing with terrorism; and we remain fully committed to meeting our obligations under these conventions.

Afghanistan welcomes the successful outcome of the Symposium on Combating International Terrorism, which took place on the 19th of September, at the initiative of the UN Secretary General.

Mr. Chairman,

We are convinced that the signing of the agreement between the United Nations and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the creation of an International Center for Countering Terrorism will go a long way in helping to consolidate cooperation and building capacity of in relevant State institutions and agencies dealing with terrorism. We look forward to seeing the new center become operational in the near future.

Furthermore, we believe it is of paramount importance to conclude the Comprehensive Convention for Combating International Terrorism. While commending the work of the Ad Hoc Committee established by GA Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996, we join other speakers in stressing increased cooperation to resolve the outstanding issues.

Afghanistan further underscores the importance of convening a High-level Conference on countering terrorism, under the auspices of the United Nations.  Such an initiative will help formulate a joint and effective response to the global fight against terrorism.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate our steadfast commitment to undertake all necessary measures to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and to achieve international peace and security.

I Thank You.