United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
- Children and Armed Conflict
- Human Rights
- Peace and Security
- Rule of Law
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
Statement by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
I thank Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his briefing and commend him and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for critical support for Afghanistan's presidential election. I also thank UNODC Director-General Fedotov for his briefing, and Ambassador Tanin for his very able engagement in the Council's work on Afghanistan.
The conclusion of voting in the Afghan Presidential elections was a vital stage in Afghanistan's transition. The Afghan people themselves defied attempts by armed insurgent groups to disrupt the process and have spoken decisively in favour of democracy. We applaud their courage and their commitment to a peaceful Afghanistan. The strong participation of women reflects the progress Afghanistan has made over the last ten years. Afghanistan's future will depend on the full and decisive role women have in its political, economic and civic evolution.
Today the Security Council will adopt a Presidential Statement on Afghanistan's elections. This will send a strong message of the international community's support for Afghanistan's electoral process, and recognise the importance of these historic elections for Afghanistan's transition and democratic development.
We commend the outstanding work of UNAMA in assisting Afghan institutions in their management of the process. The partnership between the UN and the Government of Afghanistan has been crucial in successfully managing the many administrative and logistical challenges of conducting the poll.
Of course – inevitably – we are now at a critical point in the electoral process. The Afghan electoral institutions, including the Independent Election Commission and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission, are instrumental in ensuring a transparent, open and credible result. And we call on all parties to engage with the electoral institutions and processes patiently and to channel their complaints through the institutional mechanisms established by Afghanistan's electoral laws and constitution. The performance of Afghanistan's election institutions and processes is integral to the credibility of the elections themselves.
The months ahead, of course, will be crucial. Beyond the elections, we look forward to the historic milestone of a peaceful, democratic transfer of leadership in Afghanistan. Australia is ready, with our partners, to work with the new government to finalise the parameters for the international community's support for Afghanistan beyond 2014.
The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have demonstrated their increasing capability in fighting the insurgency and providing security for the Afghan people, including vitally throughout the election process itself. The ANSF must continue to build its capabilities across Afghanistan. Australia will continue to support the ANSF, including through our sustainment commitment – $100 million a year – as agreed in Chicago in 2012. We look forward to concluding the legal frameworks necessary to enable a post-2014 international train, advise and assist mission.
It will be essential, of course, for the new government to implement the commitments made at the 2012 Tokyo Conference towards achieving sustainable economic and social development. The people of Afghanistan will expect to see improvements to governance and the rule of law, including in the areas of transitional justice, budget management, combating corruption, and improving accountability.
We encourage Afghan authorities to provide full support to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission so that it can fulfil its necessary role as an effective and independent institution. Australia urges the full implementation of the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law and encourages the Government of Afghanistan to finalise and implement a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, which would promote the active participation of women in the peace and reconciliation process. We welcome Afghanistan's report on the implementation of its Children and Armed Conflict plan, and emphasise the need for its full implementation.
We are concerned, of course, with the reported increase in civilian casualties in Afghanistan; the vast majority attributed to the Taliban. The Secretary-General's report notes that Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) remain the main cause of civilian casualties. We are concerned by the growing use and sophistication of IEDs and the terrible toll they take, particularly on civilians.
The Council has already taken steps to address this trend in resolution 2160 on the new mandate of the Taliban sanctions regime, adopted last week, which imposes a new obligation on States to promote vigilance in industries involved in the production, trade and storage of explosives or the raw materials and components that can be used to manufacture IEDs, such as chemical components and detonating cord.
It is essential that Member States engage on the establishment of good practice, including with industry, and to share information, establish partnerships, and develop national strategies and capabilities to counter improvised explosive devices.
Crucially, we must not lose sight of Afghanistan's significant humanitarian challenges, including significant displacement as a result of conflict and recent natural disasters.
This Council will also adopt today a Presidential Statement on narcotics, an issue of great concern to many countries, including my own. We thank UNODC for continued efforts to build the capacity of Afghan authorities to counter the very serious narcotics threat. This role will remain important.
Afghanistan stands at the threshold of transformation. Its people have voted peacefully for change, respecting and trusting the democratic process to bring them greater peace and security. We can assure them that the United Nations and the international community – and certainly my own country, Australia – will continue to support them and the government of Afghanistan as they work to achieve the "stability and legitimacy" that Ambassador Tanin has just so sharply identified as the motivating principles behind the commitment of Afghanistan's people to their own future.