EU must ensure genuine human rights progress in Afghanistan
(Brussels, 5 December 2011) A decade after the first Bonn Conference, the international community returns today to the German city to discuss Afghanistan’s future. As the Afghan Government and its international partners pursue reconciliation with the Taleban and the transition of security to Afghan forces, Amnesty International has urged EU representatives at the Bonn II Conference to ensure that human rights, including women’s rights, are upheld.
“The EU must ensure Afghanistan’s human rights obligations and commitments are translated into clear benchmarks to track progress to the genuine protection of human rights”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The reconciliation process must bring justice for victims of human rights violations if Afghanistan’s future is to be peaceful and sustainable.”
Many Afghan civil society groups fear the prospects for human rights in Afghanistan if political control is ceded, even partially, to the Taleban. In areas they control, the Taleban have curtailed girls’ and women’s rights, denying them education, employment, freedom of movement, political participation and representation. The Taleban have shown scant respect for the right to life or freedom from torture, systematically and deliberately violating the laws of war by targeting civilians, aid workers, and civilian facilities including schools. The reconciliation strategy risks legitimising impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Amnesty International has urged the EU to ensure that:
• The Afghan Government and insurgent groups commit themselves to the country’s human rights obligations under international and domestic law
• Afghan civil society, including Afghan women, must be meaningfully represented in planning and reconciliation talks
• Any political agreement includes benchmarks for conformity with human rights obligations
• Reconciliation talks do not bring impunity for serious human rights violations and war crimes
• The Afghan National Security Forces have the capacity to address harm to civilians and civilian objects and offer practical, detailed procedures for recording casualties, receiving claims, conducting investigations and offering reparations
• An effective, adequately resourced and independent police ombudsperson is installed, with authority to investigate complaints against the police
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Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office, Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0)2 548 2773