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Afghanistan rights commission urges Karzai to protect its autonomy

[JURIST] The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) [official website] has asked President Hamid Karzai [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to veto a bill awaiting bicameral and presidential approval that would strip the Commission of the power to select its own commissioners, handing that power to parliament instead. Under the Afghanistan Constitution [text], AIHRC is an independently-run body. However, the Afghan lower house voted [Pajhwok Afghan News report] last week to require 16 independent commissions, including the AIHRC, to obtain parliamentary approval for appointment of their commissioners. The bill must pass both the lower and upper houses of the national assembly, as well as gain presidential backing, before it can become law.

According to the AIHRC website, the Commission is "independent" because:

it is not within the trine pillars of the country, Judiciary, parliament and government; however, it is part of the structure of the system and acts independently. The Commission mandate requires acting independently; otherwise the Commission can not monitor the activities of government agencies and other institutions in regard to implementation of law and ensuring of human rights.
The AIHRC has been a major watchdog on the legality of US military action in Afghanistan, urging [JURIST report] the establishment of a better legal framework to guide the US military when acting within Afghan borders. IRIN has more.

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