Advancement of Women

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



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.

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