H.E. Dr. ZAHIR TANIN Permanent Representative of the Islamic


H.E. Dr. ZAHIR TANIN Permanent Representative of the Islamic
Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations
of the IslamicRepublicof Afghanistan
to the UnitedNations
at the SecuritvCouncildebate
29 OCTOBER2008
Mr. President,
Thank you for convening today's important debate on "Women, peace and security." My delegation
commends your leadership of this council for the month of October. I would also like to expressmy
appreciationfor the SecretaryGeneral's comprehensivereport on the progressof Resolution 1325.
Mr. President,
The govemment of Afghanistan is dedicatedto the implementation of Resolution 1325.However, in postconflict countries such as Afghanistan, forces of insecurity are the greatestthreat to the advancementof
the three pillars of this resolution: protection of women in war and peace,promotion of women's rights,
and participation of women in peaceprocesses.
As the Secretary General's report has indicated, insecurity is the basic concern that must be addressed
before true progresstowards women's rights can be made. lnstability affects the most vulnerable parts of
the population, and women and children continue to account for the majority of casualtiesin hostilities.
ln Afghanistan, the atrocities of the Taliban threatenthe progressof women. The historical agendaof the
Taliban, during its rule in Afghanistan, included a tyrannical denial of all basic rights to women: the right
to free movement, to education, to work. Today, this goal of the Taliban appearsunchanged:where they
advance in Afghanistan, women's rights retreat. In areas of increased Taliban activity, there are
pronounced restrictions on women's mobility, attacks on girls' schools, and a decreasein services for
women provided by our governmentand aid agencies.
Mr. President,
Despite the growing threat of insecurity, Afghanistan, with the support of the intemational community,
has made severalimprovements in the participation of women in peaceand security.
The Government of Afghanistan has ensured that women's rights are enshrined in the Afghanistan
Constitution, as well as all major international agreementssuch as the Afghanistan Compact and the
recent Paris Declaration. ln addition, women have participated in the transitional process from the Bonn
Conferenceuntil the elections of 2004-2005 and onward. Women have been appointed to high positions
in national and local governments,including cabinet-level posts. Today, women account for 27o/oof the
National Assembly and almost 260/oof civil servants.Habiba Sorabi, the successful female govemor of
Bamiyan, is one notable example.
Afghanistan has also strengthenedits governmentinstitutions to promote women's rights. The Ministry of
Women's Affairs has achieved much through its dedicated advocacy for women. The National Justice
Plan of ,Afghanistanseeksto improve women's involvement in the justice sector,and the National Action
Plan for Women in Afghanistan aims to increasewomen's participation in all areas of social, economic
and political life. Finally, the Government of Afghanistan, with international organizations and domestic
groups, has worked tirelessly to promote women's rights in Afghanistan by improving access to
healthcare, education and basic services. Today, 40% of children in school are girls, and,8lo/o of the
population now receives healthcarethrough the Basic Packageof Health Services. 40,000 more women
now live through childbirth every year.
Mr. President,
Despite theseadvances,Afghanistanneedsto continueto do much more to meet the objectivesof
Most immediately,the securitysituationcontinuesto directlyaffectwomen'ssecurityandtheir accessto
health,educationand socialprotection.Continuedterroristactivity is affectingthe implementationand
monitoringof all programsand projects,especiallyin the provinces.ln addition,poverty,the lack of
mustalsobe addressed.
More work is neededto ensure
allocationof resources
the participationof womenin all partsof the stabilizationprocess.
To continueto advancewomen'sparticipationin peaceand security,our countryhasa few observations
to offer:
1. International involvement is crucial. lnternationalsupport for national initiatives provides
trainingfor nationalinstitutionssuchasthe nationalarmyandpolice
force.Internationaltraining for womenin the civil service,and intemationalsupportfor female
studentsin the form of schoolsand increasededucationalopportunitiesare also crucial.Lastly,
coordinatingroles, such as the role of LINAMA in Afghanistan,are immenselyhelpful in
coordinatingactivitiesand sharingknowledgebetweenorganizations
that areworkingto forward
However,international partners must recognizethat:
a) Improvement should be internally-driven. While internationalsupportis importantfor
all of the aforementioned
reasons,the intemationalcommunityshouldbe cautionedthat
true reform for women'sparticipationin peaceand securityshouldbe generatedwithin
the contextof the particularcountry.Internationalinvolvementshouldbe motivatedby
the needsof the women within the particular country. There should be no external
impositionof standards;
thereshouldbe no externalpoliticalagendas.
b) International troops should assist national efforts to protect women. For better
protectionof women's participationin peaceand security,gendersensitivitytraining
should be mandatoryfor troops from all countries.ln addition, their assistanceis
importantin facilitatingwom€n'smobility to accesswater,healthcareand markets,and
in creatingthe conditionsfor women'ssafeparticipationin the public andpolitical life of
the country.For example,in Afghanistan,internationalforcescontinueto protectroads
on which womenandfamiliesfrequentlytravelto accessgovernmentservices.
2. Importance of regional collaboration. The Secretary-General's
advocacyof regional action
plans and regional organizationsto supportnational commitmentis fully supportedby our
government.As infringementson women'srights are often cross-boundary
issues,suchas the
spillageof womenrefugeesfrom conflict situations,solutionsshouldalsobe cross-boundary.
Importance of a cohesiveapproach.A successful
approachto advancewomen'sparticipationin
peaceand securitymust addresswomen'srole in all major sectorsof society.In Afghanistan,
women's advancementmust be addressedby quelling terrorism, eradicatingpoverty and
4 . Involvement of women in reconciliation processes.Talks to consolidatepeacein post-conflict
settingsshouldinvolvewomenat everystage.Suchtalks cannotcompromisewomen'srights in
any way and must stronglyadhereto the principlesof true democracyand women'spolitical
5. The needfor action, not words. Stepsforwardmustmovewomen'srightsbeyondslogansand
good intentions. The gender advisor to the Afghan Ministry of the lnterior has found that
"orgarizationalinertia" is perhapsthe main causeof problemsassociated
with genderinequityin
ministries.We need the
will and the genuinecommitmentthat will
transformwords into action.And as the Paris Conferencerecentlyremindedus, international
donors must fulfill their pledged aid so that efforts to improve women's standingcan be
Mr. President,
In conclusion,to advancethe protectionof womenin war and peace,the promotionof women'srights
and the participationof womenin peaceprocesses,
Afghanistanwould like to emphasize
the importance
of addressing
the threatsof insecurity.Securityis the first concernof post-conflictcountriesthat hopeto
makeprogressin women'srights.
After security is addressed,the following lessons are important: recognition of the importance of
intemational involvement, the importance of regional collaboration, the inclusion of women in
reconciliation processes,and the need to move beyond words towards action.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

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