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Afghanistan: Human rights must top election agenda

    March 06, 2014

    Presidential candidates must champion, not sideline, human rights, Amnesty International said today in an agenda for change aimed at candidates campaigning ahead of the 5 April vote.

    “There have been undeniable human rights improvements in Afghanistan over the past decade, but the situation is still bleak for millions across the country. Conflict-related violations and appalling levels of violence against women and girls are just two of the issues that must top the agenda for the next administration,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    “Candidates cannot afford to treat human rights as a second-string issue. Any more trading away of rights in Afghanistan for short-term gain will move the country backwards rather than forwards after 2014,”

    Almost complete impunity for past human rights abuses and war crimes persists in Afghanistan. Many of those now running for president or vice-president are facing serious allegations of complicity in such crimes.

    “Civilian casualties are still on the rise and there is little to no accountability for unlawful killings. We are deeply worried that this election campaign period will be a particularly bloody one, with reprisals against critics of the candidates and voters. The government and its international allies must make far greater efforts to protect ordinary Afghans wanting to express their political views,” said Horia Mosadiq.

    The agenda sets out concrete recommendations on how human rights in Afghanistan can be improved in seven crucial areas:

    • Fulfilling Afghanistan’s international human rights obligations
    • Accountability for alleged war crimes by Afghan and international forces
    • Protecting the human rights of women and girls
    • Preventing and responding to internal displacement
    • Ending impunity for past human rights abuses and war crimes
    • Ensuring freedom of expression
    • Abolishing the death penalty


    For further information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations                (613)744-7667#236

    Briefing:  Afghanistan: 7-Point Human Rights Agenda for Presidential Candidates