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Statement on the Secretary General of the OSCE’s Action plan for the promotion of Gender Equality

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ayoob M. Erfani in response to the presentation by the OSCE Secretary General of the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality at the 1006th Permanent council meeting of the OSCE

3 July 2014

Vienna, Austria

Mr. Chairman,

Let me join previous speakers in thanking His Excellency the Secretary General for his comprehensive presentation of the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality.

As I have stated earlier today in my response to the statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, the empowerment of women and promotion of gender equality rank among Afghanistan’s greatest achievements over the past thirteen years of efforts and sacrifices, supported by our partners in the international community, with a view to providing a better future for the Afghan people.

Last week, in this hall at the occasion of the Annual Security Review Conference, Ms. Shukria Barakzai, an MP from the Afghan Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) briefed participants about Afghanistan’s achievements including in the area of women’s rights. Next week, two more prominent women’s rights activists from Afghanistan, Ms. Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, another MP from the Afghan Wolesi Jirga, and Ms. Mahbouba Seraj, a civil society activist are scheduled to participate in the Gender Equality Review Conference, which marks yet another excellent opportunity to share experiences, lessons learned and challenges in the area of women’s rights in a post-conflict country like Afghanistan.

Let me seize this opportunity to thank the Secretariat, in particular its Gender Section and H.E. Ambassador Miroslava Beham, the Chairmanship and all donors for their continued support to my delegation here in Vienna. The facilitation of participation of delegates, in particular women, to major OSCE conferences constitutes a key component of our excellent partnership with the OSCE.

Mr. Chairman,

Afghanistan is strongly committed to the goals of OSCE’s Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, and we have taken concrete steps in this area on national, regional and international levels, complementary to OSCE’s efforts of the implementation of the Action Plan.

We believe in the inalienable rights of Afghan women, who constitute more than 50% of our society, to fully participate in all spheres of society thereby contributing to our security, social life and economic recovery. Without our women’s full engagement we will not be able to realize our vision and ongoing efforts for a democratic, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.


Thank you

Visit of Ms Shukria Barakzai MP and Mr. Safiullah Muslim MP to the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference

Afghanistan takes an active part in the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference



Vienna, 26 June 2014

The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan actively participated in the OSCE’s Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC), held from 24 to 26 June. H.E. Ambassador Ayoob Erfani was joined by Ms. Shukria Barakzai MP and Mr. Safiullah Muslim MP to lead a high-level Afghan delegation to the Conference.

Ms. Barakzai presented an insightful keynote address during today’s working session IV on “Supporting stability in the OSCE area during the ongoing transitions in Afghanistan”, sharing her experience and perception as a senior parliamentarian of the Afghan Lower House (Wolesi Jirga) and deserving women’s rights activist. Mr. James Appathurai, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, also presented a keynote speech during this working session. Furthermore, a representative of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) updated delegates on the work of the ODIHR Election Support Team during the second round of Presidential Elections in Afghanistan.

On the second day of the conference, Mr. Muslim made an intervention during working session I on “Early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation: Lessons learned and the way ahead”. The Afghan delegation also delivered presentations in working breakfasts on Afghanistan, organized by the OSCE’s Gender Section and the Delegation of Mongolia. Additionally, meetings were held with the Secretary General of the OSCE, H.E. Lamberto Zannier, and with the head of the United States delegation to the ASRC, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Brent Hartley.



HE Ambassador Erfani on the the work of the IEC/IECC and gender issues in Afghanistan at the OSCE

HE Ambassador Erfani delivers a statement updating on the outcome first round of elections in Afghanistan, the work of the IEC/IECC and gender issues in Afghanistan at the OSCE

HE Ambassador Ayoob Erfani gave a statement during the meeting of the Asian Contact Group at the OSCE, in which Ambassador Erfani briefed participating states on the outcome of the first round of the April 5th election in Afghanistan and to discuss gender issues in the ACGM. He noted that due to the results with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzi as the sole contenders, a runoff election is to be held in order to determine the new President on June 14. Ambassador Erfani stated that despite premeditated challenges by anti-governmental elements within the country, over 7 million men and women, approximately 36% of whom were women, came to the polls and cast their votes, which showed a direct representation of the will of the Afghan people to achieve full-fledged democracy, stability and security in their country.

HE Ambassador Erfani, underlined the importance of a peaceful democratic transfer of Presidential power, which will take place in the coming weeks. He reiterated that the steps taken and the support given during the election process by the OSCE, ODIHR and the international community were key during Afghanistan’s decade of transformation in aiding the country in overcoming domestic challenges and for allowing the establishment of secure elections resulting in a more transparent and democratic Afghanistan.

Ambassador Erfani announced that he will return to the OSCE to deliver a presentation of the final election results and to give another briefing on the overall election process in order to maintain and encourage a high level of transparency between Afghanistan and OSCE participating states.

He contributed to the ACGM discussions on gender equality by reiterating the efforts of his government to enhance the protection of both women and children, who represent those most affected by conflict in the country. Additionally, the Afghan Government has made changes to its constitution which reflects the will of the Afghan Government to create a balance between men and women and to guarantee women basic human rights under the confines of international law. Ambassador Erfani noted that gender equality is at the center of Afghan political policies and will remain a priority in 2014 and beyond.

Ambassador Erfani concluded at the ACGM with his gratitude to those present and in the international community for their continued support.