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‘New rights commissioners unconstitutionally appointed’

‘New rights commissioners unconstitutionally appointed’

Jul 24, 2019 - 19:41

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Civil Societyinfo-icon Joint Working Group (CSJWG) on Wednesday said it considered President Ashraf Ghani’s decision to introduce new human rights commissioners as unconstitutional.

In a statement, the group said it was deeply concerned about the independence of the rights commission in future.

CSJWG said it listed eighty-two people and submitted their names to the Selection Committee.

The selection body composed of top government officials was tasked with preparing the initial list of candidates in supervision of national and international bodies within three months after three periods of interviewsinfo-icon.

The selection committee included the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Womeninfo-icon's Affairs, president of the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of Constitution.

The committee introduced 27 candidates to the President after interviewing them from the list provided by civil society.

“Unfortunately that list was rejected by the president and another list was issued without considering the principles, contrary to the order issued by the president himself and the new commissioners were appointed,” the CSJWG statement said.

It said the national unity government with such appointments undermined the independence of a national institution and affected the most independent commissions, including the Independent Commission for Overseeing the Implementation of Constitution and the Administrative Reform Commission.

It said the presidential decision questioned the independence of the commissions. “This act of the government has damaged the institutionalization of independent institutions and caused distrust of citizens in such national institutions.”

It further said the government was creating a new ministry each day for its political interests, causing losses to the national exchequer.

The Civil Society Joint Working Group considered the government's decision of appointing commissioners of the Human Rights Commission as unconstitutional, contrary to the Paris Principles, and international standards.

The group called on the government to comply with the Constitution, international laws and other applicable laws in all its actions to stop furthering the gap between the people and the government.

The Afghanistaninfo-icon Independent Human Rights Commission is a national human rights institution established based on the Paris Principles, which emphasizes the independence of this national institution and under article 58 of the Constitution to monitor and improve the observance of human rights in Afghanistan.

The appointment of the chairperson and commissioners of the rights body by the government without consulting civil society and its failure to consider the Paris Principles has been a source of concern for human rights defenders and civil society activists, the group concluded.

nh/ma

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