Human rights at a crossroads: The need for a rights-centred approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan

en fa fr

NATO Chicago Summit should go beyond discussing the quick-fixes of military disengagement in Afghanistan

On 20-21 May, several announcements are expected to be made at the NATO Chicago Summit regarding NATO’s strategy in Afghanistan. Beyond fixing a timetable for a military disengagement, it will be crucial for Afghanistan’s key partners to make new commitments to support the building of democratic institutions and fully protect human rights in the country.

Human rights at a crossroads: The need for a rights-centred approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan

The executive summary can be downloaded here.

In a report released today, “Human rights at a crossroads: The need for a rights-centred approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan”, FIDH and Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA recall that it may not be possible to build an autonomous and effective Afghan army and police force in such a short time span. Indeed, Afghanistan has never had a long-standing, stable security force, and many factors clearly demonstrate a high risk that the present force may be unable and/or unwilling to stop the insurgency, or refrain from engaging in human rights violations. The numerous human rights violations and active anti-democratic forces at play in Afghanistan present clear threats to the transition process towards peace and reconciliation and seriously undermine hard-won democratic processes. If adequate measures are not put in place, they may generate conditions that could be conducive to civil strife. In such a fragile context, the prospect of the forthcoming NATO military disengagement from Afghanistan combined with the Taliban’s increasing presence in important positions and institutions make the adoption of such preventive measures even more urgent.

“NATO member States and Afghanistan’s other donor countries must ensure that the progressive withdrawal of international troops is accompanied by a serious commitment to support the strengthening of democratic institutions countrywide and full capacity-building within the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). NATO and other international military forces as well as the ANSF must also ensure that systems are in place so that incidents causing civilian harm and misconduct of international troops come to an immediate end”, said Ms. Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH president.

“The recommendations for supporting and strengthening institutional capacity through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and conclusions and recommendations made by UN Special Procedures must be implemented. We believe the UN Human Rights Council should monitor this more thoroughly through the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan. Related to this, we also wish to underline that the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission must receive appropriate support, and its independence must be guaranteed”, added Ms. Belhassen.

“Since 2001, the international community’s half-hearted and inconsistent efforts at legal and judicial reform have led to the present disorganised, inefficient, corrupt, and at times counterproductive justice system. Donor countries should support the still frail civil society, including women and human rights organisations, and it should ensure that development assistance fully addresses needs defined in consultation with Afghan civil society and also contribute to the strengthening of democratic institutions and the rule of law”, said Ms. Guissou Jahangiri, Executive Director of Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA.

Read more