Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset, let me congratulate you on your appointment as the president of this council and assure you of Afghanistan’s full support and cooperation in your presidency.
My delegation welcomes the Lebanese Republic as a new member and international Commission on Missing Persons as observer.
Let me once more remind ourselves that the world is facing unprecedented challenges. New crisis situations continue to emerge around the globe, and older ones remain unattended or unresolved. Millions of people leave their villages, cities and countries, turning in to IDP’s, asylum seekers or migrants. Afghanistan, like several other nations is facing all three challenges at the same time. Addressing these inter-connected challenges at all levels, national, regional and international have made the IOM a crucial partner for the member states, be it a country of origin, transit or host.
Afghanistan, for long, has been a strong advocate of IOM’s mission and programs around the world. We support the GCM and its initiative for safe, orderly and regular migration with obligation for States to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of individuals within its territory and practice non-discriminatory approach to preserve safety, physical integrity and dignity of the migrants. I also want to stress that all of us have a responsibility to ensure that no one, including migrants’ communities that are among the most vulnerable, becomes victim of xenophobia, racism and discrimination. A collective response from all of us in the international community is required to address the issue and mitigate the risk.
In Afghanistan, IOM is an integral part of very successful inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms for humanitarian assistance and repatriation. Conscious of the need to strengthen synergies between international migration and development and exchange best practices at the regional and inter-regional level, we have offered to lead the Colombo Process for the next two years. We look forward to meeting the representatives of the member and observer states. Indeed, dialogue at all levels, is essential to identify and conceptualize issues, as well as explore possible solutions responding to the challenges posed by the movement of persons.
Voluntary, safe and dignified return and reintegration of Afghan refugees and migrants are at the center of our efforts. Since 2002, 5.2 million Afghan refugees and 5 million undocumented migrants have returned to the country. My government, with the help of international organizations including IOM, UNHCR and others is supporting this process.
Important and Significant initiatives have been undertaken to ensure the inclusion of displaced persons and returnees in our national programming, including addressing land issues for returnees through implementation of Presidential Decree 305 on Land Allocation, investing in provinces of high return and displacement and working together to ensure return and reintegration is sustainable and that the root causes of displacement and humanitarian needs are addressed. We have identified and prioritized 15 priority areas of return and reintegration that have absorbed higher number of returnees and where our Citizen’s Charter and other National Priority Programs are also delivering projects. In addition, five new areas will be identified for our 2020 strategy.
We urge better and enhanced cooperation and coordination between the IOM office in Kabul and our relevant departments. Without an enhanced level of coordination, we will not be able to achieve desired outcomes and bilateral and trilateral pledges will be wasted.
Given the nature of challenges and multiplicity of expectation mentioned at the beginning of my speech and echoed by most of my other fellow PRs, administrative and financial reform of the IOM and a continuous drive to increase effectiveness and efficiency of the Organization is an urgent priority. This is the reason why my delegation supports, in principle, the amendments and reform proposal by DG Vitorino. We are confident that the proposed reform will also increase the geographical diversity and representative nature of the IOM’s leadership.
To conclude, my delegation would like to thank you your vice chair, the previous chair and vice chairs and IOM staff for their diligent work of preparing for this 110th meeting. Let me once more assure you of my government strong support and cooperation.
I thank you Mr. Chair,