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Rights body leadership accused of monopoly, ethnic bias

Rights body leadership accused of monopoly, ethnic bias

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Nov 14, 2018 - 18:46

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Participants of a meeting in Kabul on Wednesday accused the Afghanistaninfo-icon Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) leadership of ‘monopoly and ethnic prejudice’ and claimed 70 percent of shortlisted eligible candidates for the rights body’s membership hailed from a single tribe.

They demanded the committee, tasked with selecting eligible candidates for membership of the AIHRC, to be dissolved.

Under the AIHRC law, the nine-member body, including womeninfo-icon, is appointed by the president for a five-year term and their head is also picked by the president from among the members.

Abdul Rahman Hotak, an AIHRC commissioner, told reporters here that the president had ordered selection of new human rights commissioners five months ago.

Under the presidential order, a seven-member committee comprised of individuals from the civil societyinfo-icon and a five-member government body was formed.

The committee shortlisted 81 individuals out of 390 persons, who applied for the AIHRC membership. These 81 persons were then referred to the five-member government committee for selecting nine persons for AIHRC membership.

“Among the 81 shortlisted individuals, 10 were Pashtuns, seven Tajik and seven Uzbek and the rest were picked from Hazara tribe,” he said.

 Hotak said the selections showed the AIHRC continued to be monopolized by a particular ethnic group.

He demanded the government dissolve the seven-member committee and the list of 81 shortlisted persons and form a new committee of academicians and civil society organizations.

Mualvi Shahzada Shahid, a Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon member, said also demanded the removal of the seven-member committee.

He said the AIHRC was one of important institutions but ethnic differences had plagued the body and was occupied by one ethnic community.

Civil society activist Fazal Minallah Mumtaz said: “I don’t call it AIHRC, it is Sima Samar’s commission. More than 80 percent members of the commission belong to Sima Samar.”

The AIHRC was incepted in 2003 by the orders of former president Hamid Karzai. Sima Samar has  since been heading the national institution.

Bilal Sidiqui, AIHRC spokesman, rejected the views expressed at the gathering in Kabul, and said: “No ethnic issues exist in the commission. Every ethnic group has representation in the nine member commission.”

nh/ma

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