HRW wants aid donors to stress accountability
KABUL (Pajhwok): A leading rights group on Monday urged Afghanistan’s foreign donors to press the government to address the country’s persistent human rights problems at a major international meeting of senior officials.
Human Rights Watch issued the call in letters to representatives of a dozen donor countries, who are scheduled to gather in Kabul on September 5 for the Senior Officials Meeting to discuss humanitarian and security commitments to the country.
The meeting is a follow-up to the December 2014 London Conference and the 2012 Tokyo Conference.
Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, wrote in the letter: “Afghan officials and foreign donors need to put human rights front-and-center in all discussions of ongoing and future support for the Afghan government.”
The official explained human rights gains since 2001 remained extremely fragile and had reversed in some areas, putting at risk the rights of all Afghans, particularly women and girls.
The watchdog asked the Afghan government and its international donors to strengthen their support for the protection and promotion of human rights in the country through continued emphasis on the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.
“However, there are indications the Afghan government’s Realising Self-Reliance paper, presented by President Ashraf Ghani at the December 2014 London Conference, will be the centerpiece of the September 5 meeting’s agenda.
It noted the document lacked specific goals and measurable benchmarks for progress on human rights. The group called for focus on updating and expanding the Tokyo Framework to include new, realistic, and measurable human rights commitments.
“Donors should press the Afghan government to ensure greater accountability of state security forces responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture and other abuses,” the organisation continued.
Respect for the basic human rights of the general population was a crucial element of counterinsurgency operations, it remarked. Protecting the rights of women and girls would require the government to enforce the EVAW Law.
Similarly, donors were asked to fund initiatives that helped promote the rights of women and girls, including earmarking funding to recruit and retain female police officers.
The Afghan government and foreign donors were also urged to take substantive steps to bolster the resources and capacity of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).
Kine said: “The Senior Officials Meeting provides the Afghan government and its international supporters an important opportunity to recommit to specific, measurable steps for protecting the rights of the Afghan people.”
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