Human rights in Afghanistan

Human rights in Afghanistan

The situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan is a topic of some controversy and conflict. While the Taliban were well known for numerous human rights abuses, the post-Taliban government often seems unable or unwilling to protect human rights.

Post Taliban

The Bonn Agreement of 2001 established the Independent Afghan Human Rights Commission to investigate human rights abuses and war crimes. The Afghanistan Constitution of 2004 also calls for an Independent Afghan Human Rights Commission. While the ongoing turmoil, violence and reconstruction efforts often make it difficult to get an accurate sense of what is going on, various reports from NGOs have accused various branches of the Afghan government of engaging in human rights violations.

Law and order

The National Security Directorate, Afghanistan’s national security agency, has been accused of running its own prisons, torturing suspects, and harassing journalists. The security forces of local militias, which also have their own prisons, have been accused of torture and arbitrary killings. Warlords in the north have used property destruction, rape, and murder to discourage displaced Pashtuns from reclaiming their homes. Child labor and human trafficking remain common outside Kabul. Civilians frequently have been killed in battles between warlord forces. Poor conditions in the overcrowded prisons have contributed to illness and death amongst prisoners; a prison rehabilitation program began in 2003.

In the absence of an effective national judicial system, the right to judicial protection has been compromised as uneven local standards have prevailed in criminal trials!

Freedom of speech and the media

The government has limited freedom of the media by selective crackdowns that invoke Islamic law and has encouraged self-censorship. The media remain substantially government-owned. The nominally lesser restrictions of the 2004 media law have been criticized by journalists and legal experts, and harassment and threats continued after its passage, especially outside Kabul.

Religious freedom

No registration of religious groups is required; minority religious groups are able to practice freely but not to proselytize. Islam is the official religion, all law must be compatible with Islamic morality, and the President and Vice President must be a Muslim person.

Women's rights

The Constitution promises equal rights for men and women, and women are permitted to work outside the home, to engage in political activity, and the Constitution requires each political party to nominate a certain number of female candidates. However, the Afghan Supreme Court is dominated by Islamic extremists that have been issued various rulings and opinions that seem to be attempting to undermine women's rights, i.e. calling for segretation in schools.

Sexual orientation

Homosexuality and cross-dressing were capital crimes under the Taliban, but seem to have been reduced to crimes stipulating long prison sentences.

See also

* Abdul Rahman
* Central Asia Health Review
* LGBT rights in Afghanistan
* Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan
* Sayed Perwiz Kaambaksh
* Shinwar massacre

External links

* [http://www.ands.gov.af/mdgsgroups.asp Afghanistan's MDG] - Millennium Development Goals

* [http://www.aihrc.org.af/ Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC)]

* [http://www.afghanwomensnetwork.org/ Afghan Women's Network]

* [http://www.wraf.ca/ Women's Rights in Afghanistan Fund] - funded by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

* [http://www.cahr.info/index_files/page0019.htm World Observes International Mine Awareness and Assistance Day] Central Asia Health Review. Apr. 5,2008
* [http://www.cahr.info/index_files/page0015.htm Poor Sanitation Causes Death among Children under Five in Afghanistan] Central Asia Health Review. Mar. 14,2008
* [http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/142/ Freedom of expression in Afghanistan] - IFEX
* [http://www.advocacynet.org/partner_view/partner_38.html Omid Learning Centers- Educating Young Afghan Girls]
* [http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/afghanistan/ HRW - Afghan Election Diary] - work on Afghanistan from Human Rights Watch
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6149144.stm BBC News - Afghan women seek death by fire] - 15/11/06


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