HRW wants Ghani, Obama to sideline abusive strongmen
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani and his US counterpart President Barack Obama should make human rights issues a key agenda item during meetings, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday.
Over the last decade, the US has provided billions of dollars to arm and equip Afghan forces, some of whom have engaged in human rights abuses, alienating local communities and fueling the insurgency.
John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at HRW, said: “For more than 13 years, the US and Afghan governments have attempted to achieve security at the expense of human rights, and the effort has failed.”
Referring to its repeated warnings of the shortcomings of US security strategy in Afghanistan, the group called on US and Afghan authorities to sideline abusive strongmen.
It urged the US to support Ghani’s effort by tailoring aid commitments to motivate Afghan security bureaucracies to hold perpetrators accountable. The US should tie security assistance to improvements in security forces’ accountability.
“Violence against women remains endemic in Afghanistan, with an estimated 87 percent of women experiencing abuse in their lifetime. Obama should urge Ghani to take steps to enforce the 2009 Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW Law).”
HRW called the murder of 27-year-old Farkhanda by a mob in Kabul an example of the government’s inability to protect women from violence.
Ghani was asked to press Obama on closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and reopening investigations into torture and other ill-treatment of detainees by the CIA and US military personnel.
“US personnel tortured and killed detainees in Afghanistan,” Sifton said. “Ghani should use his meeting with Obama to ask him to order or reopen criminal investigations.”
Over the past 20 years, it alleged, the Taliban had engaged in extensive war crimes, including deliberate attacks on civilians and indiscriminate bombings. The US and Afghan governments should support efforts by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate abuses by all parties.
Ghani and Obama should publicly commit to making human rights and accountability priorities in their new joint security strategy, Sifton demanded. “It’s time to reject the temptation of expediency over respect for human rights.”
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