Human rights gains in Afghanistan at risk: HRW
KABUL (Pajhwok): The fraught political transition and intensifying armed conflict have triggered uncertainty in Afghanistan, placing the rights gains of the past decade at risk, an international group said on Thursday.
The power-sharing deal between President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, growing pressure from Taliban and the decline in foreign assistance complicated the human rights agenda, Human Rights Watch said.
In a 656-page world report, the organisation reviewed human rights practices in more than 90 countries. HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth urged governments to recognise that human rights offered an effective moral guide in turbulent times.
Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at HRW, recalled: “Afghanistan’s new leaders made specific campaign promises to promote human rights. The government needs to translate those promises into decisive action to combat rights abuses and uphold basic freedoms...”
Intensified fighting and diminished security displaced 38,000 people from January through September 2014, bringing the total number of internally displaced people in Afghanistan to over 755,000.
Impunity for abuses by security forces remained the norm, Human Rights Watch said. The police in Kandahar, in particular, were cited in numerous reports of torture, summary executions and forcible disappearances through 2014.
The Afghan Local Police continued to be responsible for serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, it alleged.
During an offensive against the Taliban in August in Zherai district, an ALP unit reportedly captured and executed six men it accused of working with the Taliban.
Women’s rights remained under threat in 2014. In January, parliament passed a provision in the draft criminal procedure code that would undermine prosecution of domestic violence. The provision was ultimately amended, but still exempts many family members from being called as witnesses in domestic violence cases.
Other setbacks for women’s rights in 2014 included attacks on high-profile women, including police officers and activists. Implementation of landmark 2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women remained poor.
The report said assaults on the media, particularly by pro-government entities, increased, with some 68 attacks on journalists in the first six months of 2014, compared to about 41 attacks in the same period in 2013.
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