Afghanistan: NATO states urged not to shirk on rights

NATO member countries should support human rights protections in Afghanistan beyond the end of the NATO combat mission post-2014, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

London: NATO member countries should support human rights protections in Afghanistan beyond the end of the NATO combat mission post-2014, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

The Sep 4-5 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Summit in Casnewydd, Wales, is slated to discuss future alliance support for the Afghan government.

The failure of the outgoing government of Hamid Karzai to institutionalize rights protections, the current electoral crisis, and inroads by Taliban insurgents pose a threat to the rights of women, the treatment of people in custody, and other areas of rights reforms since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001, Human Rights Watch said.

"The political and military turmoil in Afghanistan over the past year has shown the need for renewed international support for human rights," said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"NATO governments need to make solid commitments to protect rights by supporting good governance and rule-of-law initiatives long after NATO combat forces leave the country at the end of 2014."

Increased fighting in Afghanistan highlights the security concerns for much of the population, Human Rights Watch sid.

The UN recorded a 24 percent rise in civilian casualties for the first six months of 2014 compared with 2013, most caused by insurgents, with the Taliban deliberately attacking civilians they consider to be supporting the government.

The long-drawn-out election process for Karzai's successor as president, still unresolved, adds to concerns of unstable governance.

At the Casnewydd summit, NATO countries should call for strengthened human rights monitoring and effective prosecutions for gross abuses by security forces, Human Rights Watch said.

Despite consistent and compelling evidence of torture, the Afghan government has not prosecuted any police or intelligence officials for the abuse of detainees.  

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