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Afghan govt failed to deliver on key reforms, claims HRW

Afghan govt failed to deliver on key reforms, claims HRW

Jan 27, 2016 - 15:53

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The national unity government failed to make significant gains in achieving human rights reforms in 2015, an influential global group alleged on Wednesday.

In its Worldinfo-icon Report for 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said little progress was made in reining in militias, reducing corruption, promoting womeninfo-icon’s rightsand reforming the courts.

Afghanistaninfo-icon’s government squandered important opportunities to tackle serious human rights problems,” said Patricia Gossman, senior researcher at HRW. “As reforms have slipped, so have essential human rights protections for detainees, women and the media...”

Infighting among government institutions jeopardised the broader reform agenda in 2015 when abuses by security forces and advances by the Talibaninfo-icon undermined public confidence in theirrulers, HRW noted.

The government’s steps, notably expansionof the Afghan Local Police (ALP) that has been accused of rape, extortion and unlawful killings, endangered the protection of fundamental rights, the watchdog observed.

In September, it recalled, President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree providing for indefinite preventive detention, reversing a long-standing rejection of the abusive practice, which puts detainees at increased risk of torture.

The Taliban seized a number of district centres and threatened provincial capitals, including Kunduz, which they held for nearly two weeks in September and October before Afghan forces (ANSFinfo-icon), with US air and ground support, regained control.

Nearly 300 civilians were killed, many as a result of indiscriminate fire by both sides, the report said, saying the Taliban also threatened women’s rights activists and deliberately killed some civilians they accused of working for the government. 

On October 3, a US warplane supporting Afghan and American ground forces repeatedly fired at a hospital in Kunduz, run by Médecins Sans Frontières, killing at least 42 and wounding dozens more. 

Preliminary results from a US military inquiry found “human, procedural and technical” errors behind the airstrike. But the findings left unanswered many questions about why and how the facility was targeted.

President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah failed to take steps to improve enforcement of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) and to stop prosecutions of so-called moral crimes.

The flawed trial of those responsible for the murder of Farkhunda Malikzadaand the minimal sentences handed down for police revealed the government’s failure to protect women from violence and tackle deficiencies in the justice system, HRW said.

“Atrocities by the Taliban and other insurgents are no excuse for the government to deploy abusive militias or fail to hold the security forces accountable for violations,” Gossman said.



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