Weak appointments to Afghan rights body: HRW
KABUL (PAN): An influential human rights organisation on Tuesday said President Karzai had appointed new commissioners to the Afghanistan’s most important human rights body having “little or no record defending human rights”.
Karzai’s appointment of a weakly qualified human rights commission with little public consultation raised concerns about the country’s most important rights body, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
On June 15, Karzai announced the appointment of five new commissioners to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The HRW said most of those appointed appeared to have little or no record defending human rights.
The New York-based group asked the Afghan government to ensure the AIHRC was allowed to work free of political pressure.
“The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission plays an absolutely crucial role in protecting the rights of all Afghans, and it needs to have the right leadership to continue its crucial work,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“The five new commissioners have huge tasks ahead of them and need to show Afghans that they will be strong champions of their rights. Donors need to watch the work of the newly constituted commission every step of the way.”
The AIHRC has been in limbo since December 2011 when the most recent five-year terms of all nine previous commissioners expired, Human Rights Watch said. At that time, Karzai announced his plans not to reappoint three of the commissioners.
A fourth position has been vacant since the commissioner responsible for children’s rights, Hamida Barmaki, her husband, and their four children were killed in a suicide bombing at a Kabul supermarket in January 2011. A fifth position became vacant when a commissioner was removed from his post.
“Afghanistan’s human rights situation could become even more critical as the world turns its attention away,” Adams said. “Maintaining a free and independent human rights commission will require constant vigilance by Afghanistan’s donors.”
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