Community leaders in Afghanistan’s southeast strategize on human rights

5 Feb 2020

Community leaders in Afghanistan’s southeast strategize on human rights

GHAZNI - The important role of community leaders in promoting and protecting human rights was the focus of a UN-backed event in Afghanistan’s southeast province of Ghazni.

Some 40 religious scholars, women’s rights activists, journalists and other community leaders gathered for the daylong symposium to discuss how civil society can more effectively empower their communities by increasing awareness of human rights and putting in place better mechanisms to protect those rights.

One participant, Abdul Mosawir Omer, called for strengthening rule of law and putting in place practical mechanisms to protect human rights and support human rights defenders.

“We need solid measures to deter perpetrators from violations,” stressed Omer, a civil society activist.

During the discussion, other participants highlighted the many challenges faced by communities across the southeastern province, including violence against women and human rights violations resulting from the armed conflict in Afghanistan.

As the discussion turned to education, participants called for investment in schools as well as in community awareness initiatives to promote human rights, especially the rights of women.

“Afghanistan should pay more attention to education,” said Wakil Ashrafi, a civil society activist. “Without an educated society, it’s difficult to address human rights.”

At the conclusion of the daylong event – which also focused on formal methods to monitor and report violations – participants reaffirmed their commitment to promoting human rights in their communities and pledged to work together with the provincial government to advance the human rights agenda.

Organized by UNAMA’s Gardez regional office, the event was part of a nationwide initiative to create platforms – using radio, television and social media – for local communities to engage in dialogue on pressing issues affecting their communities.

In accordance with its mandate as a political mission, UNAMA supports the Afghan people and government to achieve peace and stability. UNAMA backs conflict prevention and resolution, promoting inclusion and social cohesion, as well as strengthening regional cooperation.

The Mission supports effective governance, promoting national ownership and accountable institutions that are built on respect for human rights.