The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna vehemently condemns the criminal terrorist attack against Parliamentarian Shukria Barakzai on 15 November 2014, which has taken three innocent lives, and has left Ms Barakzai and others injured. We consider these terrorist acts to be crimes against humanity and against the Government and people of Afghanistan. We offer our condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives. No such cowardly terrorist attacks will deter the Afghan people, nor Mrs Barakzai in their commitment to achieving a stable and prosperous Afghanistan and the Government of Afghanistan will not stand for such abhorrent actions. -END-
We thank international human rights organizations and all individuals who expressed concerns about the well-being and safety of Brishna, a ten-year old girl from Kunduz/Afghanistan, who has fallen victim to a heinous crime. The perpetrator has been convicted of rape and sexual abuse and has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Afghanistan’s civil society organizations have welcomed the verdict and the country’s law enforcement agencies are taking action to protect the life of Brishna, while our health services will provide psychological care. The Government of Afghanistan strongly rejects and condemns violence against girls and women, as well as any attempts of victim blaming. The Government will continuously reform the country’s legal system with a view to addressing all outstanding matters and to ensure that girls and women enjoy equal rights, as stipulated by our Constitution.
Vienna, 13 November 2014
Ambassador Erfani led Afghanistan’s delegation to the Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs)
Ambassador Erfani led Afghanistan’s delegation to the 2nd UN Conference on LLDCs, and delivered Afghanistan’s Statement to the plenary of the Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries. He discussed the achievements Afghanistan has made through cooperation with the International Organisations and the ongoing challenges facing Afghanistan and other LLDCs in enhancing transportation infrastructure, establishing adequate transit transport systems and trade facilitation.
Ambassador Erfani noted the importance of the Almaty Program of Action (APoA) and the value the new Unity Government has attached to regional cooperation, as one of the priority pillars of the Decade of Transformation for the new Government. Ambassador Erfani stated ‘ Afghanistan has great potential to become a ‘land bridge’ between energy rich Central Asia and energy deficit South Asia, if the geographical position is better utilised through increasing connectivity between LLDCs and other States’.
In conclusion, Ambassador Erfani placed Afghanistan’s support behind APoA and called for renewed enthusiasm for developing land-links for LLDCs. He reiterated the importance of the International Organisations in facilitating cooperation and noted that he hopes further cooperation can be initiated in the next year.
Earlier today, in a ceremony at Kabul’s Presidential Palace, H.E. Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has been sworn in as new President of Afghanistan. The election of the new President marks the first democratic transfer of power from one to another elected President in the country, and a significant step to solidify the ongoing process of democratization. On the same day, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has taken up his duties as Chief Executive Officer, a position that has been created in accordance with the agreement towards establishment of a Government of National Unity.
The new President stated during his campaign:
“The task of building this future belongs primarily to the people of Afghanistan. To realize it the people must own the political process and must be persuaded that Government is deserving of their trust, by undertaking its legitimate mandate efficiently and transparently. On my part, I pledge a new form of politics in my undertakings that is based on integrity, impartiality, transparency and efficiency geared towards realization of the people’s desires and our national interests.”
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah thanked the Afghan people for “defending their inalienable right and showing courage, perseverance, and awareness throughout the elections process”, while applauding their consent “to create a Government of National Unity”.
The outgoing President, H.E. Hamid Karzai, congratulated both H.E. Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and applauded their constructive and successful efforts towards establishing and heading a National Unity Government, which will work in the best interest of the people of Afghanistan. The inauguration of the President constitutes a historic day for Afghanistan as this further consolidates the democratic process in the country during this crucial period for Afghanistan, with the completion of the comprehensive Transition at the end of this year and the upcoming Decade of Transformation (2015-2024).
The new President is expected to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States as well as a Status of Forces agreement with NATO soon.
All global friends and partners of Afghanistan welcomed the inauguration.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations as well as the members of the United Nations Security Council welcomed the inauguration of Dr. Ashraf Ghani as the new President of Afghanistan, and looked forward to the formation of the Government of National Unity with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah as its Chief Executive Officer.
Today, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed Dr. Nicholas Haysom of South Africa as his new representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), replacing Ján Kubiš of the Slovak Republic whose term came to an end after three years.
Mr. Haysom is a lawyer with a long-standing international career and has previously served as one of the UN chief’s Deputy Special Representatives for Afghanistan, a post he took up in 2012.
The United Nations will stay in Afghanistan and remain engaged there way beyond the end of the Transition period at the end of this year, with the mandate being renewed by the UN Security Council on a yearly basis. UNAMA, as the coordinator of the international community’s humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, has done important work in the country and will play an important role in the country’s upcoming Decade of Transformation (2015-2024).
Ambassador Ján Kubiš has earned the trust of the Afghan people, in particular during the 2014 electoral process. Mr. Haysom has also been deeply involved in the country’s affairs; his expertise and experience will greatly contribute to the UN’s efforts in enhancing its partnership with Afghanistan following the drawdown of the international forces and into the Decade of Transformation.
H.E. Ambassador Erfani, in personal messages to Mr. Kubiš and Mr. Haysom expressed his deepest gratitude for their outstanding service for the Afghan people and for their friendship. He wished Mr. Kubiš all the best for his future endeavors while pledging full support to Mr. Haysom in his new position.
On Saturday, the Afghan Independent Elections Commission announced Dr. Ashraf Ghani as the new President of Afghanistan and the end of the presidential election process. The announcement was followed by the establishment of a unity government as Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah signed a unity agreement, stipulating the roles of the President and the Chief Executive Officer. The new government will have a cabinet of ministers to include the Chief Executive Officer and two deputies.
Outgoing President Hamid Karzai congratulated Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, noting that the agreement was “for the progress and development of this country”. He also reiterated that he is prepared to assist the new President and Government in any way necessary.
The inauguration of the new President is expected to take place in Kabul on Monday, 29 September. Regardless of the prolonged process and shortcomings of the elections, they proved the strong commitment of the Afghan people to stand up for democracy. The Agreement for a Unity Government, which marks the first peaceful transfer of power to a new President is a great victory for the Afghan people and will lead Afghanistan to a successful Decade of Transformation, aiming at a stable, democratic, self-sufficient and prosperous country.
September 15 – International Day of Democracy
Today, the United Nations and the world community observe the International Day of Democracy, declared by the UN General Assembly in 2007. We are reminded to uphold the values, norms and principles of the United Nations Charter. We need to harness the power of women and youth in politics to strengthen our democratic merits, as a thriving force for positive change. A strong and sound democracy means being alert and capable of defending itself. Afghanistan has been a member state of the United Nations since 1946. Today, the country is a young democracy with a young society. The government is working hard to enable our young people to take an active part in the country’s future, during our Decade of Transformation, 2015-2024. The people of Afghanistan are making every effort to consolidate their achievements made in the past decade.
Article 21(3) of the UN Declaration of Human Rights stipulates:
“The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”
” Literacy is a key lever of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection. “
Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan
UNESCO’s International Literacy Day 2014 is titled “Literacy and Sustainable Development”. Literacy is regarded as one of the most vital factors to promote sustainable development. Literacy is the foundation for lifelong learning as well as for the formation of sustainable, prosperous and peaceful societies.
UNESCO defines literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society”.
The Government of Afghanistan considers literacy as the key competency to ensure a self-determined life, participation in society and gender equality. Therefore, the Government closely cooperates with UNESCO through its Bangkok office in order to attain a higher rate of literacy in Afghanistan. For example, UNESCO has developed the “Enhancement of Literacy in Afghanistan program (ELA)” and the “Literacy for Empowering Afghan Police program – LEAP”.
The 2014 International Literacy Day will be observed worldwide. A special celebration will take place in Dhaka, where the Government of Bangladesh in cooperation with UNESCO will organize the International Conference on “Girls’ and Women’s Literacy and Education: Foundations for Sustainable Development and the Awarding of UNESCO Literacy Prizes” in support for the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI).
The 95th anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence was celebrated today in a formal ceremony at the Ministry of Defense in which President Hamid Karzai and a number of other government and non-government officials and dignitaries including ministers, lawmakers, the presidential candidates, military officers, and foreign diplomats had participated.
To honor the 95th anniversary of Afghanistan independence retaken from the Britain, President Karzai laid a wreath at the Azadi Memorial minaret and prayed for those who fought for the noble cause.
Congratulating the historic day to the Afghan people, President Karzai said, “The restitution of Afghanistan independence is the result of sacrifices and devotions Afghans have paid.”
While accompanied to the press by both the presidential candidates, the President hoped that the elections process be concluded shortly.
President Karzai added: “The Afghans are impatiently looking forward to the result of their elections. The agreement by the candidates should protect the interests of our people and the nation to have a government in which no one feels left out.”
Stressing on the importance of independence, the President said, “Afghanistan independence has been the legacy of our ancestors, and we have protected this legacy.”
“Without any doubt, there are two national factors behind the freedom and dignity of our country, 1) the sacrifice and devotion of this nation, 2) the national unity and solidarity of our people,” added the President.
The President also stated that if we go 200 years back after the first Afghan-Anglo war, every single Afghan family has given a sacrifice for their homeland that has caused the honor and freedom for this land.
Insisting on the national unity, President Karzai urged, “As we have protected our independence and freedom at any cost, once again we all should joint hands in building and developing our country so that this country is not left behind in the global development caravan, but instead join this convoy and even get ahead of it.”
Dear colleagues, fellow Afghans and friends of Afghanistan,
On behalf of the Embassy and Permanent Mission, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations for the 95th Anniversary of Afghanistan’s Independence.
Today we can be proud of our country, its successful achievements and remaining challenging, which we progress through in this Decade of Transformation.
Afghanistan has come a long way, from three decades of war, but has emerged strong and determined to stand united for freedom, democracy, stability and prosperity, through the dedication of our people and Government, and the continued support of the International Community.
We wish you all the best and enjoy the National Day celebrations.
Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan