Protection and promotion of human rights in Afghanistan is a priority
Respect for the human rights of all Afghans lays at the heart of UNAMA’s work in Afghanistan. UNAMA’s Human Rights Service, which also represents the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, leads the Mission’s work in monitoring, reporting and advocating on the human rights situation in Afghanistan as mandated by the UN Security Council, and in particular UN Security Council Resolution 2678 of 16 March 2023.
The Mission’s human rights strategy is implemented through on-the-ground targeted research, monitoring, documentation, reporting, advocacy and engagement with all key interlocutors, including relevant duty bearers in Afghanistan. On the basis of this work, UNAMA calls for all human rights violations to be investigated, for those responsible to be held accountable, for victims to access justice; without these measures impunity prevails, and human rights violations continue. It calls for equality and non-discrimination, with all (women, men, girls and boys) who live in Afghanistan being considered integral to society. Their rights must be fully respected, promoted and protected in all spheres of daily and public life.
UNAMA’s Human Rights work focuses on:
- Protection of Civilians - undertakes independent and impartial monitoring, documentation and reporting of harm caused to the population due to an incident, including during at times of armed clashes and armed conflict, and advocates for the protection of civilians at all times.
- Right to Life, Liberty & Physical Integrity - documents and reports on violations of international human rights law, including arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and ill-treatment, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, as well as enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
- Women’s Rights, including the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls – focuses on monitoring and reporting on aspects of women’s rights across the priority areas of UNAMA’s human rights work and on the elimination of violence against women and girls in coordination with relevant UN agencies; its documenting and reporting inform efforts to advance gender equality and rights of Afghan women and girls.
- Detainees’ Rights – engages with detention authorities pursued at the national and sub-national levels, advocates for the improvement of detention conditions, the prevention of torture and ill-treatment, monitors places of detention as well as promotes of the rights of detainees (including the respect of procedural safeguards), and documents human rights violations in detention contexts.
- Fundamental Freedoms – monitors and reports on fundamental freedoms (including expression, opinion, peaceful assembly and association) as well as Media freedom, which are key for the development of a country, allowing access to information, meaningful debate and benefiting those who govern to understand and respond to issues facing the population. It follows the situation for human rights defenders, journalists and media workers, as well as ethnic and religious communities. It advocates for an independent national human rights institution, in line with Paris Principles, with a broad mandate to protect and promote all human rights in Afghanistan.
- Children and Armed Conflict – monitors grave child rights violations as per the relevant Security Council Resolutions. UNAMA contributes to the UN-led Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting with the aim to promote accountability and protection of children given the disproportionate impact of war on children.
The priority areas reflect UNAMA’s mandate and serve as key benchmarks in the current security, political, social and economic context in Afghanistan. UNAMA also supports Afghanistan’s implementation of international instruments on human rights and fundamental freedoms to which Afghanistan is a State party and by which it is bound.
Research, monitoring, documentation, and reporting on human rights violations and abuses informs UNAMA’s initiatives and advocacy aimed at advancing all Afghans’ (women, men, girls and boys) meaningful access to, and full enjoyment of, their rights.
REPORTS ON THE PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT
UNAMA reports on the situation of civilians in relation to armed conflict, including through periodic, thematic, and special reports.
UNAMA is strictly impartial and independent in its work and is focused on better protecting civilians from armed conflict using its civilian casualty documentation work as a tool to inform initiatives with duty bearers, aimed at limiting harm to civilians.
Meaningful peace remains the best protection for civilians affected by armed conflict. UNAMA calls on all parties and those who can influence them to work toward political solutions to end situations of armed conflict in Afghanistan.
Through its impartial and independent work, UNAMA will continue to establish credible data that informs its advocacy-orientated approach for a reduction of civilian casualties to zero.
REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFGHANISTAN
UNAMA released its first report on the human rights situation in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 2021.
The report, Human Rights in Afghanistan: 15 August 2021 – 15 June 202, summarises UNAMA’s findings with regards to the protection of civilians, extrajudicial killings, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions, the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan, fundamental freedoms and the situation in places of detention.
The report also contains recommendations to both the de facto authorities and the international community.
UNAMA Human rights in Afghanistan report – July 2022
Read the report: English | Dari | Pashto
Press release: English | Dari | Pashto
REPORTS ON CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT
The United Nations publishes reports about Children and Armed Conflict in Afghanistan, with the focus on how children are affected by conflict environments.
- Secretary-General's Reports on Children and Armed Conflict - (Annual)
- Secretary-General's Reports on Children and Armed Conflict - (Every four years)
- Security Council Resolutions on Children and Armed Conflict
REPORTS ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS
UNAMA publishes reports on Women’s Rights and the Elimination of Violence against Women.
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
- Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: Concluding Observations on the Periodic Report of Afghanistan (10 March 2020)
- Strategy and National Action Plan on the Elimination of Violence against Women - 2016-2020 (5 December 2016)
- Report of the Secretary-General on Women, Peace and Security (16 September, 2015)
- Report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related Sexual Violence (20 April, 2016)
- Report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related Sexual Violence (23 March, 2015)
- Report of the Secretary-General on Women, Peace and Security (23 September, 2014)
TREATMENT OF CONFLICT-RELATED DETAINEES IN AFGHAN CUSTODY
Based on its detention monitoring work – which has the two-fold objective of: i) assessing compliance with procedural safeguards and international human rights principles and standards; and ii) advocating for fair treatment of prisoners, detainees, and juveniles – UNAMA publishes its findings and recommendations every two years.
REPORTS ON FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS, DEFENDERS AND VICTIM-CENTRED JUSTICE
UNAMA monitors and reports on the situation with regard to fundamental freedoms and the security of human rights defenders, for sustained advocacy on civic space.
Special Report: Killing of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists and Media Workers in Afghanistan - 2018-2021 (14 Feb 2021)
AFGHAN PEOPLE'S DIALOGUE ON PEACE
The Afghan People’s Dialogue on Peace was a process active in the period up to 2021 to promote inclusivity and give voice to the views of ordinary Afghans on critical issues. It enabled civil society groups to solicit the views of the traditionally marginalized.