UN supported human rights seminars at Kunduz University
KUNDUZ - Kunduz University students have an opportunity this year to learn more about human rights as a result of a cooperation between UNAMA and the university.
Participants in the first of a quarterly series of seminars, discussed the elimination of violence against women and the need to put an end to the common and harmful practice of underage marriages.
Panel members - local human rights activists and representatives of state institutions- and more than 100 students discussed the national laws and international human rights instruments advancing and protecting girls’ rights.
Sayed Hafizulla Fetrat, the manager of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in Kunduz, stressed the importance of cooperation mechanisms among different institutions to combat violence against women and protect survivors. “Underage marriage is an explicit human rights violation and all relevant institutions must work together to eliminate it,” he said.
Another panelist, Nasiba Holkar, the Director of Kunduz Department of Women Affairs, drew attention to the importance of practical steps in protecting women’s rights such as providing legal aid for those affected. She asked the audience, a majority of whom were law students, to consider the need of legal counseling for women in planning their careers.
Afghanistan is a signatory to several international human rights instruments and protection mechanisms - the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 2009, the Afghan Government enacted EVAW Law that criminalizes many acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. However, violence against women is still common in Kunduz and in other parts of the country, with many cases mediated through informal mechanisms rather than reaching the formal justice system.
Kunduz University has been operating a Legal Clinic and the latest engagement with UNAMA Human Rights is the next step in enriching the existing curricula and increasing human rights awareness among the youth, according to Khaibar Saifi, Chancellor of Kunduz University.
The discussion recorded and broadcast by Uranoos TV, reached around 300,000 people in Kunduz city and surrounding districts.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.