London: Afghanistan's foreign donors should press the Afghan government to prevent further deterioration in the war-torn country's human rights situation and to support crucial services, prominent rights groups said today.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued a joint statement ahead of a major donors' meeting on Afghanistan on December 3-4 here.
Despite the government's important improvements in human rights, many serious abuses continue and pose a threat to the fragile gains of the past decade, the statement said.
Delegations from more than 70 countries will gather for the London Conference on Afghanistan, a follow-up to the July 2012 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan.
At that conference, both the Afghan government, then-headed by President Hamid Karzai, and international donors agreed on a "mutual accountability framework".
The London Conference will be the first such meeting under Afghanistan?s new president, Ashraf Ghani, and coincides with declining donor engagement in tandem with the end-2014 deadline for the withdrawal of the majority of foreign combat forces from Afghanistan.
"Afghanistan needs sustained political and financial backing to strengthen human rights and rule of law," said Richard Bennett, Asia-Pacific Director, Amnesty International.
"Donors and the new unity government must ensure that human rights are at the heart of reforms undertaken by the new Afghan unity government and donor assistance to Afghanistan," he said.
"The London conference is a crucial moment in determining whether the new Afghan government will take concrete steps to end human rights abuses, and whether donors have the will to stay involved in defending the rights of Afghans beyond 2014," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
"Without international pressure and aid specifically targeted at ending rights abuses, many of the gains of the last 13 years could easily slip away," he said.