KABUL, 16 April 2014 – The top United Nations official in Afghanistan today stressed the need to support the country’s two national electoral institutions – the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) – and to safeguard the impartiality and transparency of their work, in addition to highlighting the importance of the coming re-accreditation review of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, made the comments following a meeting with the AIHRC Chairperson, Dr. Sima Samar.
“Dr. Samar and I discussed the enthusiastic participation of Afghans who exercised their basic human right to vote in the Presidential elections on 5 April,” said Mr. Kubiš, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). “We agreed that Afghan voters expect no less than for due process to be followed, meaning that their votes will be counted, complaints will be resolved in an impartial, fair and efficient manner in which fraudulent votes will be excluded, and that the valid final results will be respected by all candidates.”
Dr. Samar briefed Mr. Kubiš on her recent discussions with the Ministry of Finance on the steps necessary for the AIHRC to retain its “A” status as per the ICC's recommendations, including the need for the Government to better define the process for appointing human rights commissioners and the need to ensure public financing for the Commission’s work under its constitutional mandate.
The International Coordinating Committee (ICC) – the international body that reviews the compliance of national human rights institutions worldwide with international standards – is due to hold its re-accreditation review of the AIHRC in November 2014.
The AIHRC has long held “A” status and the Afghan Government committed itself, under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework, to ensure the Commission was able to retain that highest grade.
In late January, the ICC made a series of recommendations, warning that the AIHRC risked being downgraded if demonstrable progress was not made on implementing its recommendations.
Mr. Kubiš and Dr. Samar agreed that it is essential, both for the current Government and for Afghanistan’s next Government, to continue to work with the AIHRC to implement the ICC’s recommendations well before the next review of the AIHRC situation in November, and for the presidential candidates to fully support the strengthening of the AIHRC’s independence and effectiveness.
“Just as it is important for the current Government to do what it can in the time it has left, it will be essential, after the elections process has ended, for the new Administration to prioritise the reforms necessary to ensure the AIHRC is able to keep its highest status later this year,” said Mr. Kubiš.