`Afghan rights situation still critical 10 years`

Last Updated: Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 18:55

Kabul: The human rights situation remains
"critical" in Afghanistan despite the Taliban`s ouster 10
years ago, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday, accusing Kabul and
its Western backers of failing to prioritise rights
conditions.

The US-based group said the government had missed
opportunities to put the rights of Afghans at the top of the
agenda since the Taliban fell from power in the US-led
invasion that followed the September 11, 2011 attacks.

"Afghans still struggle, often unsuccessfully, to
exercise their basic human rights and freedoms," HRW said in a
report ahead of a major international conference on
Afghanistan`s future in Germany`s Bonn this week.

The conference marks 10 years since a gathering in the
same city installed the Western-backed administration of
President Hamid Karzai, which said human rights -- especially
those of women -- would be a top priority.

"But 10 years later, many basic rights are still
ignored or downplayed," Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW, was
quoted as saying in the statement.

"While there have been improvements, the rights
situation is still dominated by poor governance, lack of rule
of law, impunity for militias and police, laws and policies
that harm women, and conflict-related abuses."

The report especially pointed the finger at
Afghanistan`s justice system, which it said was so weak that
much of the population relies on traditional justice
mechanisms and sometimes Taliban courts to resolve disputes.

But these traditional systems perpetuate human rights
abuses, it said, with some illegal practices still alive and
well.

It said women have taken on more leadership roles
since the rule of the Taliban, under whom general repression
was particularly brutal towards women. Their lives were
heavily curtailed and they faced punishments such as public
execution for victims of rape.

But women in the public eye still face threats and
even violence, HRW said.

And for ordinary women, in addition to Taliban attacks
and threats, the government itself imprisons women for "moral
crimes" such as running away from home.

Infant and maternal mortality remain among the world`s
highest, the report said.

Meanwhile, in the attempt to establish security, the
United States has ended up backing abusive militia commanders
and the Afghan Local Police programme has created
unaccountable armed groups, said HRW.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 18:55

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