• HRW warns Afghan rights at risk

HRW warns Afghan rights at risk

05 February 2013

A new report from Human Rights Watch says Afghanistan’s human rights situation remains poor and expresses growing concern for the future.

In its annual report, released in early February, the organisation said that increasing international fatigue with Afghanistan had reduced political pressure on the Afghan government to protect and promote rights.

According to Brad Adams, Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, “The future of human rights protections in Afghanistan are in grave doubt”.

The report alleged that the Afghan government “continued to allow rights-abusing warlords and corrupt officials to operate with impunity in government-controlled areas” .

Meanwhile, it added, the rights of Afghan women and girls, which improved significantly after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, suffered rollbacks in 2012.  “A series of high-profile attacks on women highlighted the heightened danger that the future holds for Afghan women” it said.

Other concerns highlighted in the report included the continuing targeting of civilians by the Taliban and other insurgents, and the closure of schools and health clinics due to cuts in international aid.

Human Rights Watch said Afghans feel enormous anxiety as the 2014 deadline for withdrawing international combat troops looms and powerbrokers jockey for position.

According to Adams, “Afghanistan needs donors who will support women’s rights as a long-term priority. Declining foreign interest in protecting the gains of the past decade will increase the risk that women will face greater systemic abuses in the future.”

“The Afghan government needs to explain how it plans to ensure rights protection in the aftermath of any negotiated settlement it might reach with insurgents,” he added.