Mr. Naseer A. Faiq, Chargé d’Affaires, Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN | Afghanistan
Mr. Naseer Faiq is the current Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations in New York. Born and raised in Afghanistan, Mr. Faiq began his career in politics after joining the Afghanistan Foreign Service in 2005. Over the years, Mr. Faiq has held various high-profile positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan. He has served as the Deputy Director General for Regional Cooperation Directorate twice (2012-2013 and 2016-2019). Mr. Faiq has also served as a Minister Counsellor, Counsellor, and Third Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations from 2008-2019. Mr. Faiq received a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration and Diplomacy from Kabul University and a Master’s Degree in Administrative Science from Farleigh Dickinson University.
|Event Title: SDGs Conference 2023||Date: Sept 20, 2023|
Permanent Mission to the United Nations Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the UN
The world leaders are in New York to discuss global issues, distinguished guests, panelists, honorable members of JWF and esteemed faculty of students of John Jay College, respected delegates, and participants who are joining us online today. I stand before you to address a pressing global concern that has come to the forefront of our collective consciousness in recent times, drawing from recent words of the Secretary-General of the United Nations around the globe, old tensions fester while new risks emerge.
Our discussion focuses on the widening gap between the erosion of democracy and the rise of autocracy within this very global canvas of mounting crisis across Africa, a continent with rich history and vibrant culture. We have observed and settled political upheavals, and the series of coups in nations like Niger, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Gabo signify a deeper regional struggle for democracy. As the Secretary-General pointed out, the Sahel faces its share of disturbances with a series of coups further destabilizing the region as terrorism gains ground. I would like to focus on my country, Afghanistan. I am sure you are well aware that nearly 20 years after being ousted from power, the Taliban took over control of Afghanistan in August 2021. It has now been a little over two years and there isn’t the slightest way of hope for a positive future for the 28 million people that are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Among them are millions of Afghan refugees, disabled people, youth, and most importantly, women and girls. Speaking at this panel is very fitting for me. As the events that unfolded in Afghanistan served as a stark reminder of the complex interplay between democracy and autocracy, I, along with the international community, have had to witness the slow yet appalling erosion of democracy in my beloved country. Under Taliban Rule, autocracy has been on a rapid rise with them continuing to consolidate their power and authority through acts that intimidate, repress, restrict, and isolate the people of Afghanistan. They have returned to the draconian policies of the 1990s ethnic cleansing and forced evictions among a lot more. The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban raises patent questions about the fragility of democracies in the face of determined autocratic forces. Furthermore, it also highlights the vulnerability of democracies when confronted with extremism, corruption, and internal divisions.
Our primary anguish lies with their treatment of women. Nearly two decades after women regained their rights, women and girls in Afghanistan have been again banned from receiving quality education from entering amusement parks, gyms, and sports clubs. Women have been banned from working in NGO offices. They quite literally have been wholly excluded from Public Offices and the Judiciary. Today, Afghanistan’s women and girls face gender apartheid and gender persecution, they are required to adhere to a strict dress code and are not permitted to travel without a male guardian, the Taliban is systematically violating the rights of women and young girls while regressing with time and resorting to cruel and inhuman practices. The rise of autocracies in the world, often under the guise of stability and security, poses a formidable challenge to the global order based on democratic values. Autocrats driven by personal interests and antique power disregard the rights and aspirations of their citizens.
As per an Amnesty International report, the Taliban have directed collective punishment, particularly upon communities where the Taliban have established and deployed their forces. They have retaliated against former security and defense forces and targeted the civilian population to force submission and compliance, especially those suspected of being associated with the former government. The list of war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Taliban is long and I do not want to calculate all of them or mention all of them. As we reflect on the Afghanistan crisis, it is important to draw lessons that can guide us in addressing the widening gap between the erosion of democracies and the rise of autocracies. First and foremost, it is crucial to recognize that nation-building efforts cannot be imposed from the outside. We recognize that bringing peace to our country is a responsibility that primarily belongs to us, the people of Afghanistan.
Genuine democracy must emerge from within, rooted in the cultural, historical, and social context of a nation. External interventions can support this process but cannot substitute for it. Over the past two years, Afghans from all walks of life and age groups inside and outside Afghanistan have tirelessly worked and raised their voices in defending their rights, hard-earned achievements of the past two decades, and national values. In the past year, civil society, women and youth groups, and political parties have mobilized and initiated organized political activity. While various groups present diverse views for a solution, the main objective is to converge under a national agenda that is based on national unity. Moreover, we must acknowledge that the global community has a responsibility to promote and protect democratic values. The international community must stand united and its commitment to defend democracy, human rights, and the rules of law. Not just when it is convenient but especially when these principles are under threat.
The lessons learned from Afghanistan should lead to a more nuanced and thoughtful approach to promoting democracy worldwide. The erosion of democracy is a cause for serious concern. However, it is vital that we do not lose hope. It is through our collective commitment to democratic values and our ability to adapt and learn from our mistakes, that we can bridge the gap between the erosion of democracies and the rise of autocracies. The world’s future depends on our ability to strike this balance and uphold the principles that ensure justice, freedom, and dignity for all. In this context, the challenges in Afghanistan, as well as in the African nations mentioned, serve as a historic reminder that our global commitment to democracy, peace, and stability, remains paramount. We must not only discuss but also act ensuring that democratic values persist and thrive. “I urge all countries to step up and to fund fully the global humanitarian appeal” – were the Secretary General’s closing remarks yesterday. Let it resonate with us as we transition from dialogue to tangible action, ensuring that the spirit of democracy and the hope for a just world prevails across all nations.