[JURIST] Economic donors to Afghanistan should encourage the prosecution of officials guilty of human rights violations, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] stated in a report [text, PDF] issued Tuesday. The report details the long-standing violations that have left victims with no redress for years and stresses the importance of bringing officials and members of the Afghan security forces to justice. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani [BBC profile] has announced that he plans to prosecute these individuals and end the country’s official tolerance of torture, but HRW states that Ghani will need the support of the international community to do so. Phelim Kine, HRW deputy Asia director, stated [press release], “The United States, which helped install numerous warlords and strongmen after the overthrow of the Taliban, should now lead an international effort to support the new government to remove serious human rights abusers from their ranks.” HRW urges that all major donors should link funding to an improved Afghan prosecutorial justice system. President Ghani is expected to visit Washington, DC this month, and HRW hopes the US will discuss these matters.
Afghanistan has been the target of much criticism [JURIST op-ed] regarding human rights issues. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] announced [JURIST report] last week that Afghanistan has made “some progress” toward preventing the torture of government detainees. Last month UNAMA also released a report [JURIST report] indicating a 22 percent increase in civilian causalities in 2014, making 2014 the deadliest year in Afghanistan since 2009. In November the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women called on the government of Afghanistan [JURIST report] and the international community to adopt sustainable measures to address violence against women in the country. UNAMA and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] released a study [JURIST report] last February that raised concern over the treatment of women in the country. The report states there was an increase of reported acts of violence against women to the Afghan authorities in the past year, but prosecutions and convictions under the landmark Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law remained low and most cases were settled through mediation. Reported incidents of forced marriage, domestic violence and rape all increased by 28 percent, but the indictments under EVAW only increased by 2 percent.