EU-US Summit: Need for joint action to protect human rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Today’s EU-US Summit should result in concrete measures to tackle human rights violations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, says Amnesty International.

Special attention should be paid to the violations undermining the electoral process in Afghanistan and to the fate of thousands of displaced people in North West Pakistan.

In a letter, Amnesty International urged the EU – who has just approved a new plan for strengthened action in both countries – to look for common positions with the United States so that both issues can be urgently addressed.

“As the EU itself has recognized, strategies alone are not enough, action is needed now” said Natalia Alonso, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

“We hope the EU and the US can agree on concrete actions to ensure a credible outcome of the Presidential elections in Afghanistan and that they will not forget the thousands of displaced in Pakistan, who are in urgent need of help” she added.

Since July between 90,000 and 150,000 people have been forced to flee the area of South Waziristan in North West Pakistan, due to the army’s offensive against Taliban forces which has involved artillery and aerial bombardments of the region.

There is hardly any support for these displaced families: there is no camp to accommodate them, the hospitals are full and there are no emergency health facilities. As supplies of food and drinkable water become scarcer, there are fears that many more will arrive if the fighting in South Waziristan continues.

In its letter Amnesty International called on the EU and US governments to agree a joint statement urging the Pakistani administration to fulfill its responsibilities and provide adequate facilities for the fleeing civilians.

Concerning Afghanistan, during the first round of voting in the recent presidential elections, Amnesty International received evidence of several cases of intimidation by Afghan government officials and affiliates of the two main candidates in that round, President Hamid Karzai and main opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah. In some cases this included death threats of journalists and elections monitors.

It is therefore crucial that the EU and US governments work together to support the Afghan administration in the next steps in the Presidential election process, and also in the run up to the Parliamentary elections in 2010, where the risk of violence is even higher.

For further comment/background and interviews:

Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):

Tel:  32-2-5021499  32-2-5021499

Fax: 32-2-5025686

Email: [email protected]  

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