Presidential hopefuls asked to explain position on rights
KABUL (PAN): An influential human rights organisation on Tuesday said asked the nearly a dozen Afghanistan presidential candidates for the April vote to explain to voters their positions on major human rights issues.
In a statement, the Human Rights Watch (WHR) said it distributed a questionnaire a day earlier to the 11 candidates posing 20 questions on the country’s most pressing human rights issues, saying responses received by January 2 will be posted on the watchdog’s website.
“Afghanistan’s next president will inherit immense human rights problems requiring leadership and commitment,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at WRW. “Afghan voters should demand that presidential candidates make explicit their plans to promote and strengthen human rights.”
Afghans will vote for a new president on April 5 in the landmark elections seen as a foundation to the nation’s future building. President Hamid Karzai, who has been in office since 2004, is barred from running for a third term due to Afghanistan’s presidential term limits.
The HRW said the 11 presidential and vice-presidential candidates included several individuals what it said “implicated” in serious human rights abuses.
The New York-based organisation’s questionnaire seeks responses on these issues: Security force accountability, women’s rights, transitional justice, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, torture and other ill-treatment by security forces, children’s rights and Afghan refugee children abroad.
The watchdog said the Taliban’s government from 1998 to 2001 had been notorious for its violations of human rights and the Karzai government had failed to deliver on a large number of key rights issues.
“The upcoming presidential election is crucial in determining whether Afghanistan will have a future as a rights-respecting country, or whether abuses and impunity will continue,” Adams said. “When Afghans go to the polls on April 6, they will want know where the candidates stand on these critical concerns.”
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