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HRW sees little progress on rights in Afghanistan

HRW sees little progress on rights in Afghanistan

Jan 23, 2012 - 13:50

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon):  Afghan womeninfo-icon suffered from widespread lawlessness and abuses at the hands of security forces and armed groups during the past year, Human Rights Watch said on Monday.

International “donor fatigue” and the planned drawdown of foreign troops in 2014 raised the prospect of further deterioration and backtracking in key areas, the group said in a report.

"The dire human rights situation in Afghanistaninfo-icon showed few signs of progress in the past year, raising serious concerns about the future," says the HRW Worldinfo-icon Report 2012.  

HRW Asia Director Brad Adams said: "The snail’s pace of human rights improvement over the past year heightens anxieties about Afghanistan’s future. Basic rights are still not a reality for most Afghans.

"The country suffers from abuses without accountability, lack of rule of law, poor governance, laws and policies that harm women, attacks on civilians, and corruption," he remarked.

According to the 676-page report, in Afghanistan, women’s rights are of particular concern. Since 2001, it said, women had taken on more leadership roles, but many had been threatened and subjected to violence.

The Talibaninfo-icon and other armed groups attack and threaten women, frequently focusing on those in public life, schoolgirls and the staff of girls’ schools. A woman died of pregnancy-related causes every two hours, it said, adding under-age and forced marriages were widespread.

"Afghanistan’s justice system remains weak and compromised, and a large proportion of the population relies instead on traditional justice mechanisms to resolve disputes. Corruption in courts and police has cut off many Afghans from justice," the report continued.

The transfer of Afghan prison control to the interior ministry in January 2012 reversed an important 2003 reform and increased the risk of torture, the group noted. Documentation in 2011 of systematic torture in Afghan detention facilities showed the failings of past reform efforts, it pointed out.

HRW claimed the US-supported “Afghan Local Police” programme had created a new kind of local militia without sufficient training, oversight or accountability. US plans to triple the size of the local police heightened concerns that the force would worsen the security situation.

The 2005 Action Plan for Peace, Reconciliation and Justice had never been implemented, and no serious efforts had been made to prosecute high-level officials for corruption and other abuses, the report said. Additionally, no progress has been made on seeking accountability for abuses committed before late 2001.

"The Taliban and other insurgent forces have committed widespread violations, in particular bombings that target civilians, and other attacks that do not discriminate between military targets and civilians. The Taliban have also used children as young as 8 years old as suicide bombers," HRW concluded.


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