UN Security Council Debate on UNAMA: Statement by Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, New York, 20 March 2012
Mr. President, Finland aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.
Afghanistan is going through three challenging and intertwined processes: security transition, political reconciliation and reintegration of ex-combatants. It is crucial that improvements in human rights and gender equality which are guaranteed in the Afghan constitution are not compromised in the reconciliation process. Finland believes that women’s meaningful participation is a key component of a successful transition. Full and equal participation of women at all levels of society is a prerequisite for democracy and human rights. Women are also the keystone of sustainable development, economic success and social stability.
Remarkable gains have been made since the overthrow of the Taleban, such as girls’ improved access to basic education. However, women still remain in the margins of political decision making and the progress on women’s rights has not been sufficient. Today, Afghan women still face insecurity in public spaces and at home – including inadequate protection against gender based and sexual violence – as well as lack of access to an unbiased justice system and legal representation. Despite some progress, access to basic health services and schooling remains inadequate.
Since November 2010 Finland and Afghanistan have been cooperating in the field of Women, Peace and Security by establishing a twinning programme. We are guided by strong Afghan ownership and leadership. Our aim is inclusive and transparent coordination among the relevant ministries and an Afghan National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. An Afghan National 1325 Steering Committee has been established and meets regularly. In January the Committee visited Finland. This provided new ideas on how to ensure better implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions.
In February this year, Finland, in collaboration with Afghanistan and the United States, organized in Washington a High-Level Panel on women’s role in peace building in Afghanistan. The key message of the seminar was that women have to be fully involved from the very beginning of peace processes to enhance the sustainability of peace agreements. Moreover, it is extremely important that the positive developments in human rights and gender equality are not compromised during the reconciliation process.
By 2014 Finland will increase her annual development funding for Afghanistan from 21 million euro this year up to 30 million euro. Afghanistan will be one of Finland’s most important development co-operation partners. We will focus on three main sectors: first, good governance, democracy and rule of law; second human rights and gender, with a special focus on education of girls; and third Afghan economy and growth, in particular the mining sector.
We all must work harder to build up better governance, better respect for human rights and a viable economy in Afghanistan. This includes full support to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission functioning in accordance with the Paris Principles on National Human Rights Institutions. The Afghan government needs to improve good governance and speed up reforms at the sub-national level. People must see positive changes in their daily life and be able to trust their authorities. The voices of civil society need to be heard and the rights and security of human rights defenders and journalists ensured.
At the same time, the international community needs to do its part and give full support to the Afghan government beyond the transition period. Finland remains committed to do that.
Thank you, Mr. President.