‘Afghan constitution fails to protect right to religious freedom’
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The Afghan constitution has failed to protect the right to freedom and belief, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said on Monday, regretting the deterioration in the country’s security.
“Afghanistan’s overall stability and security has deteriorated significantly in the last year due to a resurgence of the Afghan Taliban and increased activity by other extremist groups, including the Islamic State and al-Qaeda,” USCIRF said.
In its annual report to the Congress, the commission said the rebel groups’ violent ideology and attacks threatened all Afghans, but the Shi’a Muslim, Hindu and Sikh minorities were especially vulnerable.
USCIRF said that extremist attacks on Shi’a Muslims increased in 2015. Despite a sustained international support effort, the Afghan government lacked the capacity to protect civilians from attacks, it rued.
In addition, the country’s constitution and other laws violated international standards for freedom of religion or belief, according to the report, which said based on these concerns, USCIRF again placed Afghanistan on Tier 2, where it has been since 2006.
“The Afghan constitution fails to protect the individual right to freedom of religion or belief as guaranteed under international human rights law, providing only that non-Muslims are free to perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of the law,” the report said.
USCIRF alleged Hindus and Sikhs continued to face discrimination, harassment, and at times violence, despite being allowed to practice their faith in places of public worship and being represented in parliament through presidential appointments.
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