Press Briefing by Manuel de Almeida e Silva
Spokesman for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan
30 May 2018
•Arnaut: “International Security Assistance Continues to Make the Difference between Success and Failure”
During his briefing to the UN Security Council on Thursday, 24 May, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan Jean Arnaut told Ambassadors that security in the country, and in particular for the electoral process, is ultimately an Afghan responsibility, “but it is a responsibility that Afghans cannot shoulder without international assistance.” He called upon NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] member states to deploy more international forces to enable ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] to expand. At this critical juncture of the peace process, he said, “international security assistance continues to make the difference between success and failure.”
Innis first briefing to the Council since being appointed Special Representative in Afghanistan, Mr. Arnaut provided the Ambassadors with an analysis of the security situation and briefed them on the state of the electoral process, of DDR [Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration] and of institution-building.
He noted that the result of the elections would be compromised if public perception should prevail that election was distorted by military intimidation and interference. This is why, he added, UNAMA insists that DDR is not optional but a central and urgent task of the government. He called DDR a critical component of a larger process aimed at addressing one of the most dangerous legacies of the lengthy Afghan conflict – the continued existence of multiple Afghan armies.
Mr.Arnault provided Council members with statistics on voter registration and alerted them to current concerns, in particular those related to possible regional registration unbalances, primarily due to security conditions in some areas. He also briefed Ambassadors on details of the new electoral law, local elections and on the discussions regarding out-of-country registration and voting.
The Special Representative went over the political environment and the various stages of implementation of the security and political benchmarks the country has to meet in order to hold elections that can lead to the “fully representative government” called for in the Bonn Agreement. He announced that the verification of political rights by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and Unmans expected to start throughout the country in mid-June.
For more details and the full text of his presentation, please pick up a copy on the side table or visit our website at www.unama-afg.org.
•Over 1,150 Officers and Soldiers Disarmed in First Two Weeks of DDR Main Phase
The total number of officers and soldiers who have been disarmed under the main phase of DDR now stands at more than 1,150. Thesis after just two weeks of activity. The Programme began in Kabul on 17 May.
The officers and soldiers who put down their guns under the DDR Programme can choose from a variety of reintegration packages. Options include: business opportunities such as managing a shop or factory or getting a loan to start a small business; receiving vocational training in construction, tailoring or carpentry; going into agriculture which entails a startup package of seeds and fertilizer, or livestock; or joining the Afghan National Police or Afghan National Army.
The DDR Programme is also creating new reintegration packages for officers and soldiers coming in through the main phase. To take into account the high number of officers who are going through DDR, the Programme is creating some 5,000 reintegration packages with government ministries or private businesses specifically for skilled and educated personnel.
A partnership between the Ministry of Education and the DDR Programme will enable ex-officers and educated ex-soldiers to become teachers. A partnership between the Ministry of Communication and the DDR Programme will allow skilled personnel to train in the fields of information technology and communications networks. Ex-officers will also be able to choose from jobs with private companies.
•50,450 Afghans Register in Single Day – Highest Daily Total since Start of Voter Registration
Asif 25 May, 2,719,444 Afghans had registered to vote. The gender breakdown is 1,840,831 men and 878,726 women or 67.7 percent to32.3 percent. This shows that the number of women participating is slowly and steadily increasing. On the last day that we have complete statistics for (25 May), 50,450 Afghans registered –the highest single day turn out since the start of voter registration in December.
There are now 718 sites with 1,258 teams working across the country. There are still no sites in Daikundi, Paktika and Nuristan. I believe that Nuristan and Paktika expect to have sites open very soon but we do not yet have dates to announce. Over the past week, the Ministry of Justice registered two new political parties, bringing the total number of registered parties to sixteen.
On26 May, the Minister of Women Affairs, Habib Sorani, traveled to Farah province, where she attended a ceremony organized by the Department of Women’s Affairs. During her visit, the Minister stressed the importance of women participating in the forth-coming election and urged all women to register to vote. Registration sites opened in Farah on 1 May and since then 14,918 Afghans have registered, 30 percent of them are women.