Statement by the SRSG Jean Arnault on the Opening of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission Office in Maimana as Delivered by UNAMA’s Head of Office in Maimana

Distinguished friends from Miamian

On behalf of Mr. Jean Arnaut, Special Representative of the Secretary General, I would like to congratulate the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission on opening this new sub office in Mayan. Mr.Arnault planned to be here today but unfortunately was unable to travel due to aircraft problems.

The commission opened 8 regional offices last year and has begun to make an impact in various parts of the country. After two decades of war, the challenges are many and the AIHRC has shown that it can play an important role to meet these challenges and improve the life of people throughout the country.

Indeed, the majority of Afghan men and women still need to recover their basic human rights – to security and dignity, to live safely in their villages and towns, to work and to harvest and enjoy freely the fruits of their work.

The end of the conflict will not satisfy people’s expectations as long as abuses are committed, as long as communities cannot rely on honest and qualified police to provide security, or an impartial judge to prosecute criminals and protect innocent people.

All those who strive to help rebuild Afghanistan– in the Government, within civil society, the international community and the United Nations – strongly believe that, alongside reconstruction, respect for the rights of the people is critical to the consolidation of a lasting peace.

In the past two years, progress has been achieved in many areas. A new army and a new police are being trained and deployed to assist in the restoration of security and the protection of the citizenry. They are being assisted by international forces that are expanding their presence to many parts of the country. Afghanistan has a new constitution, unanimously adopted by representatives of all provinces of Afghanistan. And now, the country is preparing for the disarmament and reintegration of soldiers and officers, and for the election of its leaders.

The presence of the Afghan Independent Commissioning Miamian will help make this process a success in many ways: by bringing awareness to the people of the province about their rights – in particular in the context of the electoral campaign- , by receiving and following up complaints, by helping the province’s leadership and its security forces to perform better at the service of their communities. In doing so, we trust that the Commission’s office will contribute to overcome the divisions that exist in the province, and prevent the resurgence of the violence that, on and off, have disrupted the life of its people for the past two years. Creating a climate of tolerance and mutual respect will help the process of disarmament and reintegration, it will help the holding of genuine and free elections. It will also help the return of the citizens of Farias who left their homes two years ago and are eager to return and resume their lives peacefully in their communities of origin.

We at the United Nations pledge are full support to the Commission in Miamian and are determined to do our utmost, with the Commission’s staff, to attain these worthy goals.