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ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan: UN Security Council mission must ensure international commitment to human rights is long term

26 Nov 2006
Region: ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF AFGHANISTAN
Topic: Fight Against Terrorism and Human Rights
Amnesty International welcomes the UN Security Council (UNSC) mission toAfghanistan scheduled between 11-16 November. Amnesty International calls onthe mission to ensure that international commitment to the security andreconstruction of Afghanistan must be for the long-term and that human rightsstandards guide counter-insurgency and reconstruction efforts.
Amnesty International considers it essential that human rights standards guidethe strategy of the United Nation’s presence in Afghanistan both in terms ofthe bodies under direct control of the UN and security forces mandated tomaintain rule of law in the country. The Security Council must ensure thatmilitary forces operating under its mandate respect human rights standards,ensure transparency and accountability regarding its operations.

Amnesty International urges the Security Council to make the findings from itsmission available to the public following and to fully assess the findings,including by inviting experts and other relevant parties to brief them.

The organisation calls on the Security Council to re-double its efforts tore-establish rule of law in Afghanistan by ensuring that it is fully informedof the mounting challenges facing the Afghan people and the internationalcommunity.

Amnesty International believes that principles of impartiality must bereinforced by the Security Council through the authorisation of comprehensivehuman rights monitoring and reporting by the United Nations Assistance Missionto Afghanistan (UNAMA), including in relating to violations of internationalhumanitarian law (IHL) by all parties to the conflict in the country.Frequent, routine and detailed briefings to the Security Council by UNAMA andby the SC-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and, arecrucial to ensuring that co-ordinated efforts are being made to extend therule of law and implement human rights standards.

In addition Amnesty International believes that members of Afghanistan’s humanrights community should also be called on to provide briefings to SecurityCouncil members.

The ongoing failure to effectively uphold the rule of law in Afghanistancontinues to result in human rights violations being committed with impunity,including by armed groups.

Amnesty International is concerned that national bodies, such as the NationalSecurity Directorate and provincial governments, who are charged withmaintaining the rule of law, are reportedly carrying out human rightsviolations, beyond the reach of justice.

The failure of such national bodies to be held accountable under Afghan lawflies in the face of human rights standards to which Afghanistan is a stateparty and goes against the objectives mandated for ISAF in successive UNSecurity Council Resolutions. It undermines Afghanistan’s national securityand that of individual Afghans.

The alarming climate of insecurity and concerns over the stability of thestate have created an atmosphere in which human rights defenders areincreasingly reluctant to speak out. Simultaneously, defenders face threatsagainst their lives as many fear that they, too, could be killed, like thewoman human rights defender and head of the Department of Women’s Affairs inKandahar, Safiye Amajan.

Demands by Afghans for justice to be served in instances of past violationsremain unheard as progress toward implementing the Action Plan forTransitional Justice is slow and unsatisfactory. Meanwhile ongoing securityoperations by foreign forces including those present in Afghanistan under themandate of the Security Council result in reports of widespread killing andinjury of civilian casualties. While these forces claim that they seek toprovide remedy, no formal mechanisms for redress or reparation have beencreated, in contravention of Afghanistan’s human rights commitments.

Until steps are taken by the international community to fully deliver on theircommitments to the security and human rights in Afghanistan the future of thecountry and its people will remain in the balance. The UNSC needs now, morethan ever, to truly be ‘seized’ of this matter.

AI Index: ASA 11/018/2006
10 November 2006

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