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Afghanistan

    April 12, 2019

    The International Criminal Court’s decision not to authorize an investigation into crimes committed in Afghanistan under international law marks a shocking abandonment of victims and will further weaken the court’s credibility, Amnesty International said today.

    The ICC’s decision comes just days after the United States, which had already issued threats to the court, revoked the chief prosecutor’s visa because the investigation involved crimes committed by USA forces.

    “Afghanistan has been witness to heinous crimes committed with near-absolute impunity, across the country, for more than a decade and a half. The ICC’s decision today is a shocking abandonment of the victims which will weaken the court’s already questionable credibility,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    The ICC judges claimed that their decision was influenced by the prospect of investigators having to deal with challenging investigations, a lack of ready state cooperation and budgetary constraints.

    March 07, 2019

    Afghan women must have a say in the future of their country, Amnesty International said today, as the human rights organization unveiled a mural in Kabul celebrating their tremendous achievements.

    As part of Amnesty International’s BRAVE campaign to promote the rights of human rights defenders, the mural depicts Afghan women protesting for their rights, demanding equality, and raising their voices for justice.

    This is the second mural that Amnesty International has unveiled in Kabul as part of its BRAVE, or “Shuja” (in Dari) campaign. The first mural was consecrated to the memory of journalists who have been killed doing their jobs, depicting the famous Afghan photographer Shah Marai of Agence France Presse holding a camera.

    February 26, 2019

    As efforts to initiate discussion on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan begins, the latest UNAMA`s 2018 report on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” declares a record high number of civilian casualty in Afghanistan with a staggering number of 10,993 civilian casualties reported in 2018. 

    Responding to the UNAMA`s report, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner Samira Hamidi said:

    “The UNAMA report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan is deeply alarming. It reports 10,993 civilian casualties, including 3,804 civilian deaths and 7,189 injuries. The shocking number of dead and injured civilians in Afghanistan once again demonstrates the need for victims to access justice and reparations, and the need to create an environment of accountability.”

    February 06, 2019

    Responding to the attack on two journalists shot dead in Takhar province when gunmen entered a radio station and opened fire, Amnesty International’s South Asia Researcher, Zaman Sultani, said:

     “The attack on two journalists working in a radio station by unknown gunmen in Takhar province is a horrific crime. This attack once again highlights the risks journalists continue to face in Afghanistan for just doing their job. The Afghan authorities must ensure safety and protection for all so they can work freely and without fear.

    “The Afghan authorities must ensure thorough investigation and the perpetrators must be brought to justice through fair trials without recourse to death penalty.”

    This has been the second attack on journalists in Afghanistan in 2019. In January journalist Javid Noori was attacked and killed by the Taliban. 2018 was reported to be the deadliest year for journalists in Afghanistan, killing 15.

    January 29, 2019

    Against the backdrop of unrelenting civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Amnesty International called on the government to do more to protect human rights defenders as the country’s human rights record was reviewed at the UN Human Rights Council.

    At Afghanistan’s Universal Periodic Review last week, member states of the UN Human Rights Council emphasized that the Afghan government needs to do more to introduce a protection mechanism for human rights defenders, implement existing laws, enhance women’s participation, and protect civilians in conflict.

    “There have been some welcome advances when it comes to human rights, but there is much more that the Afghan government can do to fulfil its international human rights commitments,” said Samira Hamidi, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    November 20, 2018

    Responding to the deaths of at least 40 people and the wounding of at least 60 in a bomb attack at a religious event in Kabul today, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director Omar Waraich said:

    “This sickening attack once again lays bare the growing risks to civilians in Afghanistan, where a record number of civilians were killed in the first half of 2018 – many of them children.

    “Any attack in which civilians are deliberately targeted constitutes a war crime under international law, yet those killed in Kabul today will merely become another statistic.

    “Armed groups must immediately halt all attacks targeting civilians and indiscriminate attacks, while the Afghan government must make the protection of civilian lives its absolute priority.

    “This attack also once again highlights the irresponsibility of countries in the European Union who claim Afghanistan is a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers to be returned to.”

    No one has yet admitted responsibility for the blast.

    October 05, 2018

    As European governments continue to endanger lives by forcibly sending people back to deadly conditions in Afghanistan, Amnesty International is mobilizing across the continent from 6-10 October in a series of events to demand that Europe’s politicians keep Afghans safe.

    Events will include a stunt action outside the European Parliament (EP) on 10 October, when Members of the European Parliament and officials from the EU Commission meet to discuss the return of Afghans from Europe. Hundreds of red kites – symbolising the danger faced by Afghans when forced to return to Afghanistan – will be placed in front of the EP as a reminder to Europe’s politicians of their duty to protect Afghans. 

    “By forcing increasing numbers of people to return to Afghanistan over the past two years, Europe’s governments have put tens of thousands of lives at immediate risk. Afghanistan is not a safe place. To claim otherwise is a denial of the wholesale bloodshed being seen on the ground,” said Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s Regional Campaigner from the South Asia Regional Office.

    September 24, 2018

    Afghanistan’s human rights defenders who have faced years of attacks and other human rights abuses must be recognized and effectively protected Amnesty International said today, as the global human rights organization unveiled a mural honouring the memory of many brave human rights defenders who have been killed in the country.

    Journalists, students, lawyers, activists, trade unionists and other human rights defenders have faced intimidation, harassment, threats, attacks and have even been killed for doing their legitimate work defending the rights of others. The Afghan authorities must do more to address their security concerns.

    “Afghanistan’s human rights defenders have shown great courage despite the very difficult context in which they live in. Faced with grave threats to their lives and well-being, they continue to speak up against injustice and stand up for the rights of others. It is about time that the Afghan authorities and the international community stands up for their rights as well,” said Samira Hamidi, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    August 16, 2018

    Responding to the attack on a Shi’a education centre in Kabul on 15 August 2018, where a bomber stormed in and killed 34 people and injured at least 56 others, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, Samira Hamidi, said:

    “The deliberate targeting of civilians and the targeting of places of education is a war crime. The students killed were preparing for their university entrance exams when the bomber struck. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that this appears to have been an attack that was motivated by sectarian hatred, targeting members of the minority Shi’a religious community.

    “The mounting civilian casualties show beyond any doubt that Afghanistan and, in particular, its capital Kabul, are not safe. Violence across the country over the first six months of 2018 has been at record levels. And yet people fleeing the conflict, making desperate journeys to neighbouring countries and to Europe, are being turned away in the thousands. These returns are a violation of international law, breaching the principle of non-refoulement by forcing people into harm’s away.”

    Background

    May 02, 2018

     Journalists in Afghanistan face threats, intimidation and violence for simply doing their jobs, Amnesty International said on World Press Freedom Day as it honoured the memory of the 10 Afghan journalists killed in horrific attacks this week.

    Against the backdrop of unrelenting violence, a double bombing in Kabul and a shooting in Khost on Monday marked the deadliest day for journalists since the conflict in Afghanistan began in 2001. The Kabul bombings killed 29 people and wounded 45 others.

    “Afghanistan’s journalists are among the bravest in the world. Working in some of the most difficult conditions, they have faced threats, intimidation and violence for simply doing their jobs. At a time when many have sadly turned their attentions away from the country, and the work of a journalist means constantly putting your life at risk, they have continued to confront injustice and give voice to victims,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South Asia.

    March 07, 2018
    Taibeh Abbasi with her younger brother Ehsan.

    By Maria Serrano, Campaigner on Refugee and Migrants Rights

    Would you go to Afghanistan tomorrow? If you follow the news at all, the answer is probably no. Maybe you read about the truck bomb that killed at least 150 people last May, or the gunmen who stormed the offices of the charity Save the Children in January, killing four people. Perhaps you wondered how anyone could ever feel safe in Kabul after an ambulance packed with explosives blew up in a crowded street. Over 100 people died and at least 235 were injured.

    If you are in Europe, it’s likely that your government would also advise you against travelling to Afghanistan, citing the high threat of kidnapping, indiscriminate attacks and clashes between armed groups.

    February 28, 2018

    The Kabul Process conference must put the protection of Afghan civilians and accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the heart of its discussions this week, Amnesty International said.

    Leaders and representatives of 23 governments, the United Nations, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are meeting in the Afghan capital for three days of talks centred on the themes of security and counter-terrorism.

    “The greatest security issue in Afghanistan is the safety of Afghan civilians. In recent weeks, we have seen the horrors of previous years unfold on the streets of Kabul, with civilians ruthlessly targeted in attacks that amount to war crimes,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director.

    “We keep hearing of the Afghan government and the international community’s concern for the civilian lives, but there has been a failure to put the protection of those lives at the heart of their policies.”

    Civilian casualties

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 02, 2018

    Taibeh Abbasi is a teenage girl that was born in Iran to Afghan parents and fled to Norway with her mother and brothers in 2012. The Norwegian government will be putting her and her family at grave risk of serious human rights violations if it goes ahead with plans to return them to Afghanistan, a country that she has never even visited.

    Taibeh goes to school and dreams of becoming a doctor. If she is forced to return to Afghanistan her aspirations will be completely destroyed. The Norwegian government has justified the family’s deportation by claiming that Afghanistan is safe for returns – but it is not.

    However Taibeh is not alone, her classmates at school in Trondheim, led a campaign to stop their return. There was massive support from over 1,000 high school students that protested against the government’s threat to deport one of their classmates. Now Amnesty youth activists in Canada and from around the world are speaking out for Taibeh and her family. 

    January 24, 2018

    In response to today’s attack on Save the Children’s offices in Jalalabad, which has left several people dead and a number of others injured, Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director said:

    “We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Save the Children following this dreadful news, which comes after a wave of violence against civilians including the deadly assault at the Intercontinental Hotel.

    “It is an organisation that has worked tirelessly in Afghanistan for more than four decades, delivering outstanding work during some of the country’s most turbulent periods.

    “Bombing and shooting people who are working for no other reason than to help improve the lives of young Afghans is a cowardly and despicable act. Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime.”

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