Afghanistan civilians struggle to exercise human rights: HRW News
Afghanistan civilians struggle to exercise human rights: HRW
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[JURIST] The Afghan government has failed to ensure and protect human rights [press release] since the Taliban government ended ten years ago, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported Sunday. Afghanistan created a transitional government and announced intentions to hold elections and create a new constitution when the Bonn Agreement [text] was signed on December 5, 2001. HRW reports that in the last ten years, the Afghanistan justice system “remains weak” and that human rights abuses are rampant in the alternative traditional justice system, where civilians are often forced to resolve disputes in Taliban courts. HRW also reported that Afghan leaders have not done enough to encourage increased political representation by women. HRW Asia director Brad Adams enumerated some of the failed reforms:

Human rights, and in particular women’s rights, were cited as a key benefit of the defeat of Taliban rule in 2001. But ten years later, many basic rights are still ignored or downplayed. While there have been improvements, the rights situation is still dominated by poor governance, lack of rule of law, impunity for militias and police, laws and policies that harm women, and conflict-related abuses.

HRW has called on leaders who will attend the upcoming Bonn Conference to support Afghanistan in the ongoing reform of justice, women’s rights, health and education.

Afghanistan’s human rights record has been scrutinized in recent years. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] reported in October that prisoners in some Afghan-run detention facilities have been beaten and tortured [JURIST report]. HRW reported in September that the Afghan Local Police (ALP) force is committing serious abuses [JURIST report], and the Afghan government is doing little to hold the officials accountable. Corruption, abuse of power and a focus on short-term security goals in Afghanistan have intensified the issue of poverty [JURIST report] affecting more than two-thirds of the population, according to a March 2010 report [text, DOC] from the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website]. A year earlier, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] delivered a report [JURIST report] to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] that said Afghanistan’s human rights progress has been thwarted by armed conflict, censorship, abuse of power and violence against women.