STATEMENT BY H.E. Adela Raz
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
At the Launch Meeting of the Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism
25 June 2019
(Check against delivery)
Your Excellency Mr. Secretary-General;
And Respected Delegates,
On behalf of Afghanistan, Spain and the founding members of the “Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism,” I would like to welcome you all to the launch of this Group of Friends.
I am very delighted to welcome H.E. Mr. António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and thank His Excellency, for taking time from his very busy schedule to be with us today.
Your excellency, your presence in here today indicates your dedication and support to the victims of terrorism, and the importance you are giving to the cause & objectives of this Group.
I am grateful to my colleagues from Spain for co-charing this Group with Afghanistan, and all other Members for your able contributions. Our shared commitment and support to victims of terrorism was highlighted during these months of dedicated discussions, and the result is our cohesive & collective pledge to help the victims globally.
Currently, the world is witnessing a growing threat of terrorism. The traditional methods of warfare have shifted. It is more complex and asymmetric from a diverse range of actors that pose significant challenges to the existing global order.
Violence carried out by insurgent groups, proxies acting for vested interests, and religious extremists have seriously undermined international peace and security. It has endangered our ongoing efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and also hindered sustainable growth and development.
Afghanistan, as a nation at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, is very familiar with these threats over decades. Our efforts to stand against these elements is genuine and courageous, and we fight for the safety and security of our global citizens.
As such, we have made enormous sacrifices with thousands of innocent civilians being killed. As the victims of terrorism ourselves, we understand the pain and suffering of the countless number of people whose lives have been destroyed due to terrorist violence.
However, we are not alone in our experience. Unfortunately, the recent attacks from Christchurch in New Zealand, to Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, show that no one is safe.
Given the changing nature of these attacks, the United Nations and Member States, must respond accordingly, by working together on strengthening our existing strategies, developing new programs, and building an enhanced international coalition to address these threats.
We must directly confront the root causes of terrorism to ensure that the pain of these victims is not in vain.
We believe that victims of terrorism deserve sustained international attention; their voices must be heard and their rights must be protected. Most of the time, these victims are forgotten shortly after the incident, left to address their trauma, and pick up the shattered pieces of their lives by themselves.
This reality inspired the creation of this Group of Friends, following the recommendation of the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 72/165 on the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. This International Day, celebrated on August 21 every year, is another display of Afghanistan’s initative on this matter, and Secretary-General’s support and commitment for the cause.
Today’s launch of this Group will be a first step in developing a more streamlined approach that will aim to build mechanisms of support to victims of terrorism and their survivors, and upholding their fundamental rights.
We also look forward to the tabling of the resolution on the “Enhancement of International Cooperation to Assist Victims of Terrorism” for this coming Friday, which will be another important joint step of ours.
Enabling the victims to resume their normal lives and advocate for their needs, strengthens not only the provisions of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and relevant General-Assembly and Security Council resolutions but the very core of the Charter of the United Nations as well.
We hope that this Group will further empower the work of the United Nations, and will enhance the organization’s commitment to the rights of victims of terrorism. Thank you.
Now, I would like to request H.E. the Secretary General to deliver his remarks and share his words of wisdom & support.