Human Rights

Protection and promotion of human rights in Afghanistan is a priority work area for UNAMA.

Human rights is a priority issue for UNAMA. UNAMA’s Human Rights Unit, as part of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, pursues an overall strategy to ensure the protection and promotion of human rights in Afghanistan or “human rights everywhere all the time for everyone” in support of all Afghan people.

This strategy focuses the Unit’s programmatic approach on targeted research, reporting, advocacy and engagement in strategic partnerships, and private and public dialogue with the Government, military, international and civil society actors, and communities across Afghanistan in five priority areas:

  • protection of civilians in the armed conflict
  • monitoring and reporting on grave child rights violations in the armed conflict
  • elimination of violence against women and promotion of gender equality
  • Peace, civil society and human rights
  • prevention of torture in detention and arbitrary detention

The priority areas reflect UNAMA’s mandate and the main human rights concerns of the Afghan people and serve as key elements or benchmarks in the ongoing security, political and economic transition in Afghanistan.

UNAMA Human Rights focuses on aspects of women’s rights throughout all of its priority issues, but gives particular priority to combating violence against women and enabling their participation in the public sphere, especially in political life and in peace and reconciliation processes. UNAMA has released public reports documenting widespread harmful practices and evaluating the Government’s progress in implementing the Elimination of Violence Against Women Law (EVAW law). These reports, based on extensive country-wide research, found that while the Government has taken some measures to enforce legal protections to protect women and girls from violence, most cases are still mediated with further concerted and concrete measures required to end widespread violence and discrimination against Afghan women and girls and ensure they have access to justice.

On the protection of civilians, UNAMA Human Rights undertakes a range of activities aimed at minimizing the impact of the armed conflict on civilians: This includes independent and impartial monitoring, documentation and reporting of incidents involving loss of life or injury to civilians; advocacy activities to strengthen protection of civilians affected by the armed conflict; and initiatives to promote respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and the Afghan Constitution among all parties to the conflict. UNAMA regularly publishes figures concerning the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

UNAMA Human Rights documents and advocates on conflict and non-conflict related detention practices involving Afghan authorities and international military forces to address detainee mistreatment and torture, weakness of due process guarantees, impunity and widespread arbitrary detention that  partly contributes  to fuelling the conflict.

UNAMA Human Rights through its Child Protection team works closely with the Government and partners to monitor and report on grave child rights violations committed by parties to the conflict in the context of the armed conflict and to promote accountability. UNAMA Child Protection also acts as secretariat for the UN-led Country Task Force Monitoring and Reporting and coordinates the monitoring and reporting mechanism on violations committed against children in the armed conflict.

UNAMA’s mandate emphasizes the human rights elements of peace and reconciliation processes. UNAMA Human Rights supports initiatives to promote accountability and transitional justice, end impunity, and support inclusive participation in processes that promote a just peace and reconciliation. Such initiatives include working with broader Afghan civil society to strengthen their understanding of and effective participation in major political dialogues and in the current peace, reconciliation and reintegration process (Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program - APRP).

A number of UNAMA human rights-related reports are available in the following areas:

Protection of Civilians

Children in Armed Conflict

Women's Rights

Peace, civil society and human rights

Treatment of Detainees