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UNODC Working Group on Smuggling of Migrants

Vienna, 18.11.2015 – 20.11.2015

The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the International Organizations in Vienna and a representative from the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation of Afghanistan participated in the 3rd meeting of the Working Group on the Smuggling of Migrants held from November 18-20, 2015. During this Working Group in regards to the agenda item on “Practical measures to prevent the smuggling of migrants and children, in particular unaccompanied children, such as the issuance of visas on arrival, public information campaigns and training sessions on fraudulent documents”, Mr. Hassan Soroosh, Counselor, gave a statement on Afghanistan’s experience. It was noted that Afghanistan has been until recently the world’s largest country of origin for global refugees over the last three decades. In order to address issues of migration and repatriation, the government of Afghanistan established the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation to develop policies and programs to address different aspects of migration and repatriation. Recent steps by the National Unity Government of Afghanistan was to work on developing refugee laws and to this end, the High Commission for Refugees was established. It was noted that, “Preventing smuggling of migrants is a key component of our national agenda in addressing the issue of migration and combined law enforcement measures and public awareness campaigns have been carried out by the Government. However, given the socio economic root causes of migration, the Afghan Government is trying to create an enabling socio-economic condition that can contribute to the prevention of smuggling of migrants.” Further steps made by the government to address these issues include the launch of the National Employment Program in November 2015 by H.E. President Ghani, which aims to create job opportunities in both urban and rural areas across the country. In conclusion, it was stated that Afghanistan believes there is a need for greater technical assistance in support of the law enforcement and public awareness measures.

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Ambassador Erfani Delivers Remarks at Europe – Eurasia Leadership Conference 2015

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Vienna, 30.10.2015

From Friday, October 30th to Saturday, October 31st, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna hosted the Europe-Eurasia Leadership Conference titled “Eurasia and Europe Dialogue: Building Trust and Securing Cooperation for Sustainable Development”. H.E. Ambassador Erfani was invited to the conference and delivered a statement at the close of Friday’s session. Ambassador Erfani spoke on Afghanistan’s 15 years achievements and focused on “Engaging Women and youth in Afghanistan’s Transformation”. He noted that women and youth in Afghanistan will continue to play an important role in Afghanistan becoming a prosperous and peaceful country. The National Unity Government of Afghanistan is committed to bringing women full equality and security and increasing their involvement in development, government and society. Ambassador Erfani remarked on the importance of the work to be done during Afghanistan’s Decade of Transformation (2015-2024), which will be successful due to the commitment of the men and women of Afghanistan. The goals to be tackled include implementing the constitution for a new agenda and reshaping the country and its status in the region and the world. Ambassador Erfani also remarked on Afghanistan’s importance as a bridge connecting the region and beyond for promoting trade, transit and most importantly connecting people and civilizations.  Ambassador Erfani concluded by saying that women and youth are the best hope for peace, sustainability and development in Afghanistan so that Afghanistan is reedy to play its important role as a bridge in the region.

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Ambassador Erfani Delivers Statement at the UNODC

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Vienna, 28.10.2015

H.E. Ambassador Erfani delivered a statement today at the sixth session of the UNODC’s meeting of the Working Group on International Cooperation. He noted to the participants that, “Despite our collective efforts at a global level to counter transnational organized crime, various forms of crime including the new and emerging ones continue to threaten our societies.” He stated Afghanistan’s support for the work done over the years by the Working Group on International Cooperation. Ambassador Erfani praised the UNODC for developing tools to help Member States take action in fighting transnational organized crime, such as the SHERLOC knowledge management portal.

Ambassador Erfani stated that, “Afghanistan continues to suffer as a prime victim of the challenges that terrorism, narcotics, human trafficking, migrant smuggling and other various forms of transnational organized crime pose to our country. As a state party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Government of Afghanistan has been actively involved in cooperation at all bilateral, regional and international levels in countering various forms of organized crime and has recently signed extradition agreements with neighboring and regional countries in accordance with its new Law on Extradition. The Government of Afghanistan has also been in the process of negotiating and concluding a number of other bilateral judicial agreements with neighboring and regional countries.” In concluding his remarks, Ambassador Erfani stated that, “Afghanistan is making every effort to build its national capacity to implement its obligations under the relevant regional and international mechanisms to fight transnational organized crime and we will need our partners continued cooperation to this end.”

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Ambassador Erfani speaks at OSCE Asian Contact Group Meeting

11225348_1632973403652128_7738566875833571843_nVienna, 16.10.2015

On October 16th, Ambassador Erfani delivered a presentation on “Afghanistan’s Decade of Transformation and Gender Dynamics” at this year’s final meeting of the OSCE Asian Contact Group. After thanking the group’s Chairperson, Ambassador Claude Wild of Switzerland, for the warm welcome and introduction, Ambassador Erfani provided a brief overview about the historical perspective concerning the situation of women in Afghanistan. The Ambassador then highlighted accomplishments achieved since 2001, including a solid framework of both domestic and international legal instruments, institutional building, political commitment, democratic structures and elections, the role of media, and civil society engagement.

“Despite challenging security conditions in some areas of the country, due to terrorists’ activities, we have managed to enable women to regain their historic role as a powerful force for change and progress in our society,” the Ambassador said. Ambassador Erfani also emphasized the remaining and emerging challenges in the empowerment of women noting that, “Work to improve the situation of women in Afghanistan is in progress, but we accept that there is much more to do.”12111954_1632973400318795_8963704946664707409_n

The Ambassador stated that there is strong commitment by the President of Afghanistan, H.E. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, by the Chief Executive of Afghanistan, H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and as a matter of fact by the entire cabinet, to continue the work in improving the situation for women in Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani also made reference to the important role of the First Lady of Afghanistan, Rula Ghani, in encouraging participation of women in Afghan politics by forming the Women Advisory Board.

Ambassador Erfani noted the important role of the OSCE in advancing women’s rights in Afghanistan and appealed to the international community to continue and expand the support in implementing the legal and political commitments. He concluded with a request to the OSCE and all present to, “Please continue your assistance and we look forward to further broadening and deepening our collaboration with all of you and with a view to accomplishing a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan for all Afghans. Women constitute more than 50% of Afghan society and without their active participation Afghanistan will not be able reach its goal for a stable, democratic and prosperous future”.


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H.E. Ambassador Erfani Speaks at UNODC Launch of Afghanistan Opium Survey

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Vienna, 14.10.2015

Today, the UNODC launched the Executive Summary of the Afghanistan Opium Survey in a simultaneous event in Vienna and Kabul. At the event in Vienna, H.E. Ambassador Erfani thanked the UNODC for their valuable support in Afghanistan’s counter narcotics efforts and the support for the production of the Opium Survey. He noted that this year’s survey indicates a considerable decrease in both the cultivation of opium poppy and the production of opium in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been a prime victim of narcotics and will continue to do its part to make every effort to fight against narcotics. Further steps taken by the National Unity Government of Afghanistan include the recent revision of the counter narcotics strategy and the development of a new National Drug Action Plan (NDAP) for 2015 – 2019. The three main goals of the NDAP are to decrease the cultivation of opium poppy, decrease the production and trafficking of opiates and, to reduce the demand for illicit drugs while increasing the provision of treatment for users.

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Ambassador Erfani concluded by noting that, “While we appreciate the support provided by the UNODC and our international partners in fighting against narcotics, which remains a truly global and transnational problem, we believe that only cooperative efforts at all levels can be successful to make further strides and we thank the Executive Director for his call for the continued commitment of the international community to devote the necessary resources and support to Afghanistan. With our continued efforts and with continued cooperation from the international community, we can and will secure the positive figures reported in the 2015 Afghanistan Opium Survey.”IMG_2338 ed

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H.E. Ambassador Erfani Speaks at UNODC Launch of Afghanistan Opium Survey

Vienna, 14.10.2015

Today, the UNODC launched the Executive Summary of the Afghanistan Opium Survey in a simultaneous event in Vienna and Kabul. H.E. Ambassador Erfani thanked the UNODC for their valuable support in Afghanistan’s counter narcotics efforts and the support for the production of the Opium Survey. He noted that this year’s survey indicates a considerable decrease in both the cultivation of opium poppy and the production of opium in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been a prime victim of narcotics and will continue to do its part to make every effort to fight against narcotics. Further steps taken by the National Unity Government of Afghanistan include the recent revision of the counter narcotics strategy and the development of a new National Drug Action Plan (NDAP) for 2015 – 2019. The three main goals of the NDAP are to decrease the cultivation of opium poppy, decrease the production and trafficking of opiates and, to reduce the demand for illicit drugs while increasing the provision of treatment for users.

Ambassador Erfani concluded by noting that, “While we appreciate the support provided by the UNODC and our international partners in fighting against narcotics, which remains a truly global and transnational problem, we believe that only cooperative efforts at all levels can be successful to make further strides and we thank the Executive Director for his call for the continued commitment of the international community to devote the necessary resources and support to Afghanistan. With our continued efforts and with continued cooperation from the international community, we can and will secure the positive figures reported in the 2015 Afghanistan Opium Survey.”

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HE Ambassador Erfani Presents at the Austro-American Society

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Vienna, 30.09.2015

On September 30, 2015, HE Ambassador Erfani delivered a presentation on “Afghanistan’s Decade of Transformation (2015-2024): empowerment of women and transnational security aspects”, as part of the 7th Annual Webster/Austro-American Society Distinguished Speakers Series. After giving a brief overview of Afghanistan’s rich history, Ambassador Erfani discussed the challenges of the past few decades that Afghanistan has been working to overcome. He then went on to discuss the achievements made by Afghanistan in the last 15 years. He noted, “Afghanistan, supported by our partners in the international community, has accomplished tremendous achievements including but not limited to: the creation of equal opportunities for all Afghan citizens, men and women; the establishment of a democratic government; holding of democratic elections on all levels; assumption of responsibility from the international forces; expansion of friendly long-term strategic relations with countries in our region and beyond; progress in the health sector and in the infrastructure; provision of education for millions of kids, 40% of whom are girls.”

Ambassador Erfani noted the important role of women and that while challenges still remain to bringing them full equality and security, the National Unity Government of Afghanistan is committed to the equality of women and increasing their involvement in elections, government and society. He went on to say that, “With the beginning of Afghanistan’s Decade of Transformation 2015-2024, we have entered a new era, and we the men and women in Afghanistan are committed to implement the constitution for a new agenda, reshape our country and our status in the region and in the world.” In conclusion, Ambassador Erfani said that, “With the beginning of Afghanistan’s Decade of Transformation 2015-2024, we have entered a new era, and we the men and women in Afghanistan are committed to implement the constitution for a new agenda, reshape our country and our status in the region and in the world… Our women are the best hope for peace, stability and development in our country and without their active participation no one will be able to guarantee Afghanistan’s Transformation to a democratic and properties future.” Ambassador Erfani followed his presentation by holding a question and answer session.

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HE Ambassador Erfani Delivers Statement at the UNODC

Vienna, 29.09.2015

Today, HE Ambassador Erfani delivered a statement at the UNODC during the meeting on the Review Mechanism for the UN’s Convention on Transnational Organized Crime. He noted that review mechanisms are key tools available for the provision of technical assistance and for strengthening international cooperation. Ambassador Erfani also noted that core elements of review mechanisms should be funded by the UN regular budget in order to maintain predictability and stability. Further to this, Ambassador Erfani noted Afghanistan’s view that, “the review mechanism should meet state of the art requirements while remaining cost-effective.” He concluded by stating that Afghanistan would greatly appreciate technical assistance in terms of the provision of technical and practical advice to Afghanistan’s practitioners. Ambassador Erfani expressed his support for the chair in his efforts and committed his delegation to actively participating in the process.

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National Day Celebration 2015


IMG_2157Vienna, 25.09.2015

The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna celebrated the National Day, the 96th anniversary of the restoration of Afghanistan’s independence, with a reception hosted at the Embassy and PM of Afghanistan. The anniversary celebrations commenced with the playing of traditional music by the prominent Afghan cultural activist and musician, Mr. Bakhtiar. Following the national anthems of Austria and Afghanistan, an opening statement was made by H.E. Ambassador Erfani.

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Ambassador Erfani in his statement welcomed those in attendance, including Ambassadors and diplomats,  representatives from the United Nations organizations and the OSCE; members of the Austrian Parliament, guests from Austrian Federal Ministries and institutions, Municipality of Vienna and Afghan community in Austria. Referring to Afghanistan’s history and its achievements in recent years, Ambassador Erfani noted that, “Afghanistan, home of an ancient civilization, has had a prominent role in promoting culture and science globally. Pre-eminent Afghan personalities … all contributed to the world civilizations.” He recalled the heavy price paid by the people of Afghanistan in their journey to independence. Ambassador Erfani also told the guests about the efforts made by the people of Afghanistan during the last 15 years in order to establish and maintain the peace, independence and stability of Afghanistan. Ambassador Erfani then opened the traditional Afghan dinner buffet to the guests.

The celebration for Afghan’s National Day continued in a second reception held that same evening for members of the Afghan community in Vienna. During this reception, Ambassador Erfani delivered remarks in the national languages to the guests, welcoming them to a reception to not only celebrate the National Day of Afghanistan, but also to the coinciding Eid al-Adha holidays. He congratulated the guests and wish them and their families’ success and sustainable peace and stability for Afghanistan. In conclusion he stressed the responsibility and important role of Afghans resigning abroad to be with Afghan people during their journey for a prosperous and developed future.

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The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Afghanistan in Vienna Celebrates Eid al-Adha

Vienna, 24.09.2015

On occasion of Eid al-Adha, Diplomats and H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani, attended the Eid Prayer at the Mosque as well as a gathering of Afghans residing in Vienna. At the gathering, Ambassador Erfani congratulated those present and wished them and their families success. He also expressed his wishes for sustainable peace and stability for Afghanistan. The Embassy and Afghan community in Vienna also celebrated in a special reception at the Embassy, on the second day of Eid al-Adha, which coincides this year with the day chosen to celebrate the National Day of Afghanistan here in Vienna.

H.E. Ambassador Erfani’s personal message for Eid al-Adha: “Dear compatriots residing in Austria, I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of Eid al-Adha and I wish you and your dear ones good health and every success. Let us also pray to Allah the Almighty that on these sacred days he bestows peace and stability on our beloved country of Afghanistan.”

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