World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Afghanistan Is Advancing Towards Stability - UN Envoy

Afghanistan Is Advancing Towards Stability As International Force Draws Down – UN Envoy

New York, Dec 17 2013 - Despite volatility and uncertainty, Afghanistan continues to make progress in enhancing its stability as the drawdown continues for the international forces that have sought to bring security there for the past 12 years, the top United Nations envoy in the strife-torn country said today.

But international support will be required through at least another decade for the ambitious security, political and economic transformations envisaged, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Ján Kubiš told the Security Council.

“We must resolutely continue working together to ensure a sovereign and sustainable State that will never again become a haven for international terrorism and organized crime, notably including narco-businesses. This is in everyone's interest,” he stressed in his latest quarterly report on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

“Security transition is proceeding as planned,” he said of the largely United States-manned International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with a current strength of nearly 85,000, which is to be withdrawn by the end of next year. “There has not been the catastrophic collapse in security some doomsayers had predicted.
The Afghan army and the Afghan police are stepping up to the challenge. There are of course setbacks and casualty rates are of concern.”

Mr. Kubiš highlighted the “critical importance” of holding credible presidential and other elections scheduled for 5 April, noting that that all three electoral management bodies – the Independent Election Commission, the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission and the Media Commission - are now in place.

But he warned: “The security challenges are real and should be proactively and realistically addressed to promote maximum inclusion and avoid any pretext for disenfranchisement or delay.”

He also underscored the need for international observation efforts not just on Election Day but in the run-up to the polls and the compilation of results to build confidence. “I urge Member States, together with regional and multilateral organizations, to contribute to efforts in this regard,” he said.

Turning to the country’s internecine fighting, he stressed that direct talks between the Afghan authorities and anti-Government forces remain essential, pledging UN assistance in the matter and highlighting the importance of regional engagement in the process.

“In my meetings with the leaderships of Afghanistan's neighbours and regional partners, I heard concerns centred around current uncertainties,” Mr. Ján Kubiš said. “This included the potential for volatility post-2014 if there is a vacuum which could encourage the spread of Al-Qaeda-linked international terrorism and criminality with implications across the region.”

He cited the drug cultivation as another matter of “grave concern,” noting that 2013 has been a record-setting year of poppy cultivation and production in Afghanistan, resulting in some 5,500 tonnes of opium, a threat to “the health, security and economic well-being not just of Afghanistan but also the region and wider international community.”

Other issues of concern include the toll of the conflict on civilians with 2,730 deaths and 5,169 injuries reported to the end of November, a 10 per cent increase over the same period of 2012, the vast majority caused by armed opposition groups.

Corruption, impunity and lack of accountability are major drivers of violence, he added, noting that Afghanistan is currently ranked 175th of 177 countries on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index.

Mr. Ján Kubiš said humanitarian needs will likely increase, with poverty exacerbating vulnerability to natural disasters and conflict, while the dangers to those seeking to assist are also rising, with 237 incidents against humanitarian personnel, facilities and assets recorded so far in 2013, including 36 deaths, 24 detentions, 46 injuries and 72 abductions.

On the issue of violence against women, he noted that Afghan authorities registered more reports over the past year, but that prosecutions and convictions remained low. “Some areas, such as elections, have seen encouraging results but greater efforts are needed in others such as implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women,” he said.

“Increased levels of reporting are a positive development, but must be met by real will to enforce legal prohibitions on harmful practices against women, including the prosecution of perpetrators.”

Finally he noted the nature of UNAMA itself is likely to change with the transition under way. “By its very definition, transition is a time of managed change. There will necessarily be a reorientation of UNAMA's mandate in recognition of enhanced sovereignty and Afghan lead,” he said. “The future role of the United Nations in Afghanistan will likely be considered more comprehensively when there is greater clarity on the impact of the political and security transitions.”

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news