Ambassador Greta Gunnarsdottir spoke on behalf of Iceland at an international conference on Afghanistan, held in the Hague on 31 March. Ambassador Gunnarsdottir emphasized the willingness of the Icelandic Government to continue to support international assistance to Afghanistan. In this context she stressed the importance of human rights, in particular women's rights, as an intergral part of this effort. Ambassador Gunnrarsdottir also expresssed worries of the Icelandic Government regarding unconfirmed reports of a legislation in Afghanistan, which would, if confirmed, be detrimental to women's rights.
The intervention of Ambassador Gunnarsdottir follows:
International Conference on Afghanistan: a Comprehensive Strategy in a Regional Context
Talking points of the Icelandic Head of Delegation, Ambassador Gréta Gunnarsdóttir, Director General for International and Security Affairs
I would like to start by thanking you and your Government for convening this conference and for your hospitality.
Iceland remains committed to continue its support for an Afghan-led development in accordance with the ANDS (Afghan National Development Strategy), while maintaining its civilian contribution to ISAF operations and funding to various UN bodies working within Afghanistan. In addition, my Government has laid a special emphasis on empowering Afghan women.
Iceland supports a stronger UNAMA which should, in close cooperation with the Afghan Government, spearhead and coordinate the international assistance to Afghanistan.
Success in Afghanistan rests on a comprehensive approach where security, reconstruction and long term development move forward in a concerted manner. Ensuring the protection of and promoting respect for human rights is an important component of this approach. Special attention needs to be devoted to the rights of women. In this regard I want to raise concern about a news piece which appeared in the Guardian this morning, already mentioned by a couple of other speakers. If accurate, it indicates a serious backlash of women´s rights.
The upcoming elections will be a test of governance and transparency. The legitimacy of the election process rests upon a broad and equal participation by all Afghans, including women.
The long term stability and security in the region requires the constructive participation of all of Afghanistan’s closest neighbors and key regional players in stabilization and development efforts.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman