Statement Attributable to the Spokesman of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan

The publication of the draft constitution takes the country one step closer to the achievement of unimportant benchmark in the Bonn process, namely the adoption of a new constitution for Afghanistan that will strengthen national unity and the rule of law.

The publication of the draft is the culmination of over a year of hard work by the Drafting Commission, followed byte Constitutional Commission. The draft has also benefited from a nationwide process of public consultation held in the spring and substantive debates within the Government.

The document reflects a serious attempt to reflect the views of Afghans on many important and complex issues: the nature of the rights and freedoms of individuals, the form of government, the respective powers of central government and local institutions, equality among all Afghan citizens, the role of Islam, the status of languages and religious sects existing in Afghanistan, among others. It is a valuable effort, which will be put to the test at the Constitutional Loyal Jirga to be held in five weeks’ time in Kabul.

The draft is now available to the Afghan people. The Secretariat of the Constitutional Commission is currently disseminating it to every district of the country. It will also shortly issue shortly report outlying the views expressed during the public consultation and how they were incorporated in the draft. This will give Afghans the tools to thoroughly consider the issues involved and have an informed debate about them.

The Afghan constitution, like constitutions of other countries, addresses fundamental issues, on which people have different views. Much hard work remains to be done over the next few weeks in order for these views to be reconciled and consensus to breach. Success at the Loyal Jirga will require leadership and a spirit of accommodation and moderation. The United Nations will work with the Afghans to help ensure that it will be the manifestation of national unity to which the people aspire.