Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

Afghanistan: Human rights must not be traded away

Human rights, including Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s rights, must not be traded away or compromised during any reconciliation talks with the Taleban in Afghanistan, Amnesty International said, ahead of a one-day conference in London (28 January) to discuss deteriorating security conditions in the country.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, other leaders and foreign ministers are to discuss security arrangements in Afghanistan for the next two years, including reconciliation programmes to reintegrate so-called moderate elements of the Taleban.

Amnesty International Asia-Pacific Director Sam Zarifi said:

"Any discussions with the Taleban must include clear commitments that they will respect and promote the rights of the Afghan people.

The Taleban established a terrible record of violating human rights during their rule and they have done nothing since then to indicate they will act differently if they return to power.”

"The policymakers gathered in London this week have to show that they will not sacrifice the well-being of the Afghan people at the altar of political and military expediency."

Amnesty is warning that deals with the Taleban in neighbouring Pakistan later led to increased human rights violations in areas under Taleban control and a significant escalation in conflict and insecurity. The organisation is insisting that the Afghan government and insurgent groups must adhere to Afghanistan’s obligations under international human rights law and domestic law.

The Taleban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan have shown little regard for human rights and the laws of war, deliberately targeting civilians, launching indiscriminate suicide attacks in which civilians are killed and engaging in the wholesale destruction of girls’ education. According to UN figures, the Taleban were responsible for two-thirds of the 2,400-plus civilian casualties in Afghanistan last year, the bloodiest year since the fall of the Taleban.

In areas under their control, the Taleban have also severely curtailed the rights of girls and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, including the denial of education, employment, freedom of movement and political participation and representation. Afghan civil society groups, in particular Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights's groups, have voiced serious alarms about the prospect of ceding any type of political control to the Taleban.

Amnesty International UK Women's rights's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights Campaign Manager Heather Harvey said:

Time and time again at Afghan meetings Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are absent or ignored. This is not just injustice and inequality, it is actually very poor business sense.

If you don't design, deliver and implement your peace and economic regeneration with 50% of the population's quite specific needs in mind, then you will not have a sustainable or effective peace and economic recovery.

United Nations resolutions 1325 and 1820 place an onus on all countries involved in Afghanistan to ensure that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are part of Afghanistan’s recovery and rebuilding. As conference hosts, one of the things we’d like to hear the UK government saying is that Hamid Karzai must stop sidelining Afghan Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.”

View latest press releases