Immensely Bleak Future for Afghanistan; Activists

Immensely Bleak Future for Afghanistan; Activists

What is the fate of Afghanistan if Human rights violations not addressed? This is a serious question that experts ask, looking at the present scenario of the country         after the Taliban take over and reports of human rights violations, especially with respect to women and children.  A group of UN Independent rights experts say the future is “immensely bleak” unless gone for a massive human rights reversal.

The international community must dramatically increase efforts to urge the de facto authorities in Afghanistan to adhere to basic human rights principles, a group of UN independent rights experts said on August 12, 2022.

AFGHANISTAN; NO EMERGING SIGNS

Pointing out that no sign emerges of human rights situation turning a corner, the experts in a statement said, “There is little or no sign that the human rights situation is turning a corner. Indeed, the daily reports of violence – including extra-judicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, heightened risks of exploitation faced by women and girls including for the purposes of child and forced marriage, and a breakdown in the rule of law – gives us no confidence that the Taliban has any intention of making good on its pledge to respect human rights.”

The activists point out to the abolition of independent oversight mechanisms and institutions that protect human rights, especially the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. “The administration of justice has been compromised, with the applicable law unclear and judges and other judicial officials replaced, especially affecting women. Press freedom has been suppressed with access to information curtailed. Journalists, human rights defenders and civil rights activists have either left the country or quit their activities altogether and gone into hiding. Many educators, academics and artists have been forced to do the same,” the statement read.

The UN rights activists also mentioned that the attacks on religious and ethnic minorities, some of them claimed by ISIL-KP, also flared up during the time. All these have been emboldened by the inability or unwillingness of the Taliban to protect them and ongoing discrimination. Places of worship, schools and vehicles have repeatedly been attacked, they added.

AFGHANISTAN; REVISED CALL

The experts said that they had appealed for the international community to take “stringent actions” to protect Afghans from violations such as arbitrary detention, summary executions, internal displacement, and unlawful restrictions on their human rights. With no signs of a reversal of the situation, the statement said they said, “one year later, we reiterate this call. Despite making numerous commitments to uphold human rights, the Taliban have not only failed to deliver on their promises, they have also reversed much of the progress made in the past two decades.”

AFGHANISTAN; NO CONFIDENCE 

“Indeed, the daily reports of violence – including extra-judicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, heightened risks of exploitation faced by women and girls including for the purposes of child and forced marriage, and a breakdown in the rule of law – gives us no confidence that the Taliban has any intention of making good on its pledge to respect human rights,” the statement said.

 “Citizens now have no means for redress as the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has been abolished, along with other independent oversight mechanism and institutions.”  

“The administration of justice has also been compromised. The applicable law is unclear, and judges and other officials have been replaced, which has especially affected women,” they noted.

AFGHANISTAN;APPEAL 

In the statement, the rights activists called ion the Taliban to:

  • Abide by all international human rights and humanitarian law obligations and commitments incumbent upon Afghanistan, fully implement the human rights standards that Afghanistan has freely accepted, including respecting the rights of girls and women to education, employment, and participation in public life, upholding the rights of persons belonging to minority communities, and constructively engaging with human rights mechanisms.
  • Immediately open all secondary schools for girls and restore their access to a quality education, as well as lifting the restrictions imposed on women’s mobility, attire, employment and political participation and immediately cease all acts of violence against them.
  • Respect the general amnesty and immediately stop all reprisals against members of the former government’s security forces, other officials and civil society, especially human rights defenders, including women.
  • Allow free, unhindered access for human rights monitors and humanitarian actors throughout the country, including to sensitive locations including all places of detention.
  • Immediately reinstate the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, the bar associations, and other relevant unions, and allow them to operate freely and independently.

They called on members of the international community to:

  • Ensure that civilians have equitable access to humanitarian aid and that the humanitarian community work with women and minority groups to ensure aid is reaching those most in need.
  • Support the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan to report on the human rights situation, document violations with a view to accountability and advocate with the Taliban and the international community with a view to ensuring that the human rights of all Afghans are respected. This should include support for collaborative work with other relevant mandate holders especially those focusing on women’s rights.
  • Support ongoing initiatives of Afghan women leaders and thinkers, as well as civil society groups, including women human rights defenders, to design and implement – under Afghan women’s leadership – a strategy to promote the rights of women and girls, with clear benchmarks and expectations.
  • Maintain and/or adopt sustained and robust humanitarian exemptions within all international and domestic sanctions regimes to ensure compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law. Such measures should be fit for purpose, ensure that sanctions measures do not interfere with protected humanitarian action under international law, and function to remediate the current humanitarian crises and to prevent sanctions from continuing to exacerbate the humanitarian human rights crises being faced by the Afghan people.
  • Adopt measures that would pave the way for Afghanistan’s economy to recover.”

In a report released on July 20, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan stressed that the erosion of women’s rights in the country was one of the most notable aspects of the de facto administration to date. The report mentioned that the decision not to allow girls to return to secondary school means that a generation of girls will not complete their full 12 years of basic education.

“It is beyond time for all Afghans to be able to live in peace and rebuild their lives after 20 years of armed conflict. Our monitoring reveals that despite the improved security situation since 15 August, the people of Afghanistan, in particular women and girls, are deprived of the full enjoyment of their human rights,” said Markus Potzel, Acting Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan.

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