Posted: 19 July 2010
‘Peace without justice or human rights is not real peace’ - Sam Zarifi
Plans for a peace deal with the Taleban in Afghanistan could seriously jeopardise the rights of the Afghan people, in particular Afghan women, unless concrete human rights benchmarks are incorporated, Amnesty International has said in an open letter.
The open letter addresses representatives of more than 70 partner countries, international donor institutions and national delegates from across Afghanistan, who are meeting tomorrow in Kabul to build on commitments made in London in January, including drawing up plans for a peace process with the Taleban and other armed groups.
Amnesty International Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi said:
“Amnesty International fears that human rights, including women’s rights, will be compromised as the Afghan government and its US/NATO partners seek a quick solution to the conflict with Taleban and other armed groups.
“The Taleban have a record of committing human rights abuses and abuses against women in particular and if they want to be brought back into the government then they should demonstrate that they will improve their conduct.”
In areas under Taleban control today, as when in government, said Amnesty, the Taleban have severely curtailed the rights of girls and women, including the denial of education, employment, freedom of movement and political participation and representation. The Taleban and related insurgent groups in Afghanistan have shown little regard for human rights and the laws of war and systematically and have deliberately targeted civilians, aid workers, and civilian facilities like schools (particularly girls’ schools).
Amnesty fears that the reconciliation strategy risks legitimising impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations, including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghan society.
Sam Zarifi added:
“The Afghan government and its international backers should ensure that former Taleban and members of other armed groups who have committed human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity are not granted amnesties and are brought to justice.
“We should remember that the repeated experience of peace without justice and human rights in Afghanistan has led to further conflict and grave human rights violations over the past three decades.
“Peace without justice or human rights is not real peace. The route to real and lasting security can only come through the promotion of human rights and rule of law.”
In a letter sent to the delegates of the International Conference in Kabul, Amnesty has made the following human rights recommendations:
- Human rights, including women’s rights, must be guaranteed and monitored in all reconciliation strategies;
- Any agreement must include verifiable benchmarks for the parties’ conformity with their human rights obligations;
- Afghan women are meaningfully represented in the planning stages and during the reconciliation talks, in keeping with UN Security Council Resolution 1325;
- Reconciliation talks should not result in impunity for serious violations of human rights and war crimes.