UNAMA encourages continued efforts to promote human rights

10 Dec 2015

UNAMA encourages continued efforts to promote human rights

KABUL - On the occasion of Human Rights Day 2015 the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) encourages the Afghan authorities to continue their work to promote human rights and safeguard the fundamental freedoms of all Afghans.

Human Rights Day 2015 also marks the 50th anniversary year of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). These landmark human rights treaties apply to everyone, everywhere, at all times and encompass the fundamental freedoms upheld in the Constitution of Afghanistan and domestic laws. Universal human rights includes gender equality, freedom from discrimination, freedom from torture and inhumane treatment and the right to education and health care. Afghanistan ratified the ICCPR and ICESCR in 1983.

Human Rights Day also marks the culmination of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which began on 25 November. This year’s global theme is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All”. As part of the campaign, UNAMA organized events across Afghanistan that engaged more than two thousand women and men.

Many challenges remain. During the 16 Days of Activism period, horrific incidents of violence against women continued, including the stoning to death of a woman in Ghor province and two additional cases of attempted stoning in Ghor and Jawzjan provinces. These incidents highlight the need for urgent and sustained engagement by state and non-state actors, as well as the donor community to end violence against women and to address the inter-connected violations against women such as denial of health care and education, and restrictions to the freedom of movement. These violations were captured by research conducted by UNAMA in 2015, whereby consultations with women in several insecure locations assessed how conflict impacts their lives. UNAMA will publicly release these findings in early 2016.

UNAMA continues to work with the government and people of Afghanistan for the effective promotion and protection of human rights, and welcomes some recent advances. In 2015, the Government of Afghanistan committed to a number of concrete measures to enhance human rights protection, including: the development of a national policy on the mitigation of civilian casualties, a commitment to sign the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention Against Torture, and to implement the “Safe Schools Declaration” which aims to protect and promote the right to education in situations of armed conflict.

The world has changed since the UN General Assembly adopted the ICCPR and ICSECR in 1966, but respect for human rights continues to be the foundation for peace, security and development for all.  These Covenants, together with all other human rights instruments to which Afghanistan is a party, have played an important role in securing better respect and recognition for human rights in Afghanistan.

UNAMA welcomes the government’s efforts to protect and promote the fundamental freedoms enshrined in human rights treaties and encourages continued work to translate commitments into effective actions.