Statement by Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo, Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa, to the United Nations during the Security Council Briefing on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Afghanistan, 26 July 2019

Mr President,

My delegation wishes to thank the briefers Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, USG Rosemary DiCarlo, and Jamila Afghani, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Afghanistan, Executive Director of Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization (NECDO) and Executive Member of the Afghan Women's Network for their insightful comments on the different aspects of the Women Peace and Security Agenda in Afghanistan.

Mr President,

At the outset, let me reiterate South Africa’s support for the political processes in Afghanistan, including its electoral reform, as this will lay the foundation for a better and inclusive future for all of Afghanistan. We look forward to the Presidential elections that will take place in September 2019 and encourage all parties to work together to ensure that the elections commence as planned and mandated by the Afghan Constitution. Additionally, is it equally important that the upcoming elections are credible, inclusive, fair and free, safe and transparent.

Afghanistan is at a critical juncture in its peace process. These elections therefore constitute an essential step in renewing the trust of the Afghan people in the peace process and in contributing to long-term peace and security in Afghanistan.

Mr President,

We wish to welcome the progress made by Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve meaningful and inclusive participation in the peace process. The convening in the beginning of this year of the National Conference of Afghan Women for Peace, which was organised by the Office of the First Lady, with support from the High Peace Council, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and Afghan Women’s Network and other civil society organizations, is a noteworthy initiative in advancing the women, peace and security agenda.

Such activities by Afghan women across all levels and sectors of society create a conducive environment for women to continue to play an instrumental role in the peace process and beyond in the longer term.

A 15-point Declaration on the role of women were developed by the Conference and submitted to President Ghani. We welcome the undertaking by President Ghani to have its provisions considered at the Consultative Loya Jirga and peace talks. These are positive steps towards ensuring the full and inclusive participation of women in the peace process of Afghanistan.

We also wish to commend the Afghan Government for the development of a second phase of the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan and encourage its comprehensive implementation. It is commendable that Afghanistan has made significant strides to implement the aspirations of resolution 1325 by ensuring the meaningful role of women in peace processes.

Mr President,

We hope that the progress made and these all-inclusive talks between the relevant national stakeholders continue. We wish to reiterate that all parties to the conflict must respect their obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law, including ensuring the protection of the most vulnerable of Afghan society, namely women and children, particularly from sexual and gender-based violence, as well as those with disabilities. My delegation continues to condemn the unlawful recruitment and use of children in armed forces and groups, and calls for their release and reintegration into Afghan society.

Mr President,

Sustainable peace in Afghanistan is dependent on broad consensus where women, and also young people, fully participate in the peace process. This should include their participation at all levels of local and national government. South Africa thus encourages the further incorporation of gender perspectives and the concerns of women in enhancing the sustainability of peace and security in Afghanistan.

We remain convinced, Mr President, that the only long-term solution for the situation in Afghanistan is a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process towards the peaceful resolution of conflict and an inclusive political settlement.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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