New York, 22 December 2010
Statement by Ms. Mirsada Čolaković, Minister Counsellor,
Deputy Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
at the UN Security Council Debate
on the situation in Afghanistan
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its
implications for international peace and security (S/2010/630)
I thank the Secretary-General for the comprehensive report before us (S/2010/630), and of course our thanks go to his Special Representative, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, for his informative briefing. I also thank Ambassador Tanin for his statement.
Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed the holding of the Afghan parliamentary elections on 18 September and commends the Afghan people for their participation in that important democratic exercise, despite a challenging political, security and geographic environment that saw an increased number of incidents and civilian casualties on polling day. We commend the Afghan electoral institutions and bodies for their hard work. Despite all the difficulties, the accomplishment of the election represents an important foundation for building Afghanistan’s future. We fully agree with the Secretary-General’s view that the international community and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) need to continue lending their technical and political support to the pursuit of long-term electoral reform aimed at improving the capacity of Afghanistan’s electoral authorities.
Bosnia and Herzegovina considers the promotion of peace and reintegration to be a very important tool for building a brighter future for Afghanistan. We welcome the inauguration of the High Peace Council by President Karzai on 7 October, as well as UNAMA’s decision to establish an internal capacity for responding to specific requests from that Council for technical and practical assistance. We expect that such practical steps will continue to multiply and help create a firm path to the process of reconciliation in general.
It is also encouraging that the Afghan Government has achieved targets for increasing the size of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police, and adopted anti-corruption action plans. We were particularly pleased to learn that the Cabinet has approved a budget line in the State budget for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. That is a hopeful sign for the future work of the Commission, which we hope will continue to make the protection of human rights a central issue in the future development of Afghanistan. In addition, we welcome positive measures taken in the area of access to justice with the opening of Ministry of Justice legal aid offices in several provinces. This represents an encouraging concrete step that should give the Afghan people more confidence in their country’s justice system.
With regard to aid coherence, Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes UNAMA’s efforts to support the coordination of development activities at the subnational level. We share the Secretary-General’s opinion that aligning provincial development councils and donors with Government-led processes is essential to future development.
Regarding humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and development, we strongly support refugee return and welcome the return of more than 112,000 Afghan refugees in 2010, nearly double the number of returns in 2009. This would not have been possible without the valuable assistance of the United Nations and its agencies. We commend the work of all the parties concerned in creating the conditions necessary for the returns, including improved security in some parts of Afghanistan, the provision of employment opportunities and the Afghan Government’s land allocation schemes. We reiterate our call on all actors to continue their valuable work to create the conditions necessary for economically sustainable returns.
We are encouraged by the development of regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours, and in that context we welcome the role played by Turkey in facilitating and advancing regional engagement in Afghanistan. We hope that the recommendations on priority investment issued by the most recent Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan, held in Istanbul, will encourage further regional economic cooperation and produce concrete results on the ground.
We also welcome the progress made in the area of mine clearance, which will help the country on its path to economic development, especially in rural communities. The concrete benefits of these actions include improved security for the Afghan people, as well as the opening of land for the new railway system.
Bosnia and Herzegovina notes with concern that the human rights situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated significantly compared with previous years. We remain particularly alarmed about civilians who continue to suffer from deadly attacks across the country. They remain the most vulnerable targets, and we call on all relevant parties to redouble their efforts in the area of the protection of civilians. We must engage all our resources to protect this innocent population.
Regarding the mission support and operational issues of UNAMA, we welcome the signing on 28 November of an agreement between the United Nations and Kuwait establishing a UNAMA support office in Kuwait in order to help maintain its vital technical and administrative functions in a secure environment.
In conclusion, our thanks go to the staff of UNAMA and to all United Nations personnel in Afghanistan for their dedicated work to improve the everyday life of the Afghan people.