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12.2007 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Political developments (internal and external developments, influence of security situation, administration, partnership between Afghanistan and the international community) ("UNHCR's Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Afghan Asylum-Seekers") [ID 22027]
"The political transition, which began in Afghanistan with the Bonn Process (2002-2005), entailed important political developments, including the free election of the President and the adoption of a Constitution, and was completed with the inauguration of Afghanistan’s new National Assembly. The Government’s capacity to administer the country and its structure remain, however, very much in a phase of transition. While significant progress has been made towards institution building and accountability, the public sector reforms, such as the salaries, selection and technical expertise of civil servants, will take significant time, in particular at the provincial and district levels. Furthermore, political, institutional and economic achievements are increasingly under threat as the security situation in the country has progressively deteriorated in the southern, southeastern, eastern, central and western parts of the country due to the growing number of armed attacks by insurgent forces. The deteriorating security situation is compounded by the marked increase in poppy cultivation and related drug trafficking in these regions.
The partnership between the international community and Afghanistan has been reaffirmed through a road map outlined in the Afghanistan Compact, which constitutes a multi-year (2006-2010) strategic framework for the furtherance of peace, stability and the promotion of equitable and broad-based economic growth. In line with the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS),the Afghanistan Compact articulates the partnership in relation to three inter-related pillars: (1) security; (2) governance, rule of law and human rights; and (3) economic and social development. The Compact stresses the interconnectedness between the three pillars. A set of specific and time-bound benchmarks has been agreed for each pillar. Counter-narcotics and the fight against poppy cultivation are reflected as a cross-cutting issue. In the area of governance, rule of law and human rights, the Afghanistan Compact places a distinct emphasis on establishing functioning institutions at the provincial level. These institutions include civil administration, police, prisons and the judiciary. Coupled with efforts to work towards civil service reforms by introducing a merit-based system in public administration, renewed efforts at addressing rising levels of corruption are expected by the Government.
The ANDS expressed the Government’s plan and priorities to achieve its development vision. An Interim-ANDS (I-ANDS) was completed at the end of 2005 as a preliminary step, pending the preparation of a full-ANDS for the period 2007-2010.
Since 2002, progress has been made in the reconstruction of the country and in the gradual expansion of the Government’s basic social service programmes including in the areas of education and health. Nonetheless, access to basic health and education facilities, particularly in rural areas, remains very limited. Poverty and food insecurity are additional challenges for many in Afghanistan.
In terms of internal political developments, the two houses of Parliament have slowly increased their influence within the governing structure as reflected by recent and unprecedented discussions on the new budget, the media and the amnesty laws. The relationship between the legislative and the executive powers is thus dynamic and may change further as new political alliances form within the Parliament creating a counter-balance to the power of the executive branch."
06.2007 - Source: Freedom House
Annual survey of political rights and civil liberties 2006 ("Freedom in the World 2007") [ID 20688]
"In 2006, the framework for a parliamentary democracy was further consolidated as the new Afghan Parliament began operations in December 2005 and gradually established itself as a functioning arm of government. However, concerns remain that the weak role of political parties, as well as the presence of many warlords in the legislature, will hamper its effectiveness vis-à-vis the executive branch. Limited progress has been made on various issues, including attempts by the central government to address issues of corruption and transparency, as well as strengthening judicial and law enforcement services. In a prevailing atmosphere of weak rule of law and impunity, however, numerous human rights abuses, including attacks on aid workers, political and social activists, journalists, and schools, as well as systematic violations of women’s rights, were reported during the year. A marked increased in violence in 2006, underscored particularly by a rise in suicide attacks by the Taliban and other antigovernment forces, contributed to heightened lack of security and further hampered the work of local and international humanitarian organizations in rebuilding Afghanistan’s shattered infrastructure and institutions."
13.05.2007 - Source: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
Monthly bulletin on issues discussed in the parliament (April 2007) (new parliamentary group; assassination of Ajmal Naqshbandi; demonstration organised by Workers Union on 11 April; media law) ("Parliamentary Bulletin 04/2007") [ID 20279]
"On 19 December 2005 the Afghan Parliament came together for the first time in three decades. The inaugural gathering began with a reading from the Koran and was followed by a brief speech by the ageing former King Zahir Shah, who was ousted in a coup in 1973. “I thank God that today I am participating in a ceremony that is a step towards rebuilding Afghanistan after decades of fighting. The people of Afghanistan will succeed!" the 91-year-old Zahir Shah told the assembly to applause. The parliamentary and provincial council elections were held on 18 September 2005. Afterwards, the first results were declared on 9 October. Final results were delayed by accusations of fraud, and were announced on 12 November. Former warlords and their followers gained the majority of seats in both the Lower House and provincial councils. Women won around 28% of the seats in the Lower House, six seats more than the 25% guaranteed in the Afghan Constitution which was launched in 2004. Approximately twelve million voters were eligible to vote for the 249 seats of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament, and the 34 provincial councils."
15.03.2007 - Source: UN General Assembly
Report of the Secretary-General on security situation, security institutions, political developments, economic and social developments, human rights and rule of law ("Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security [A/61/799–S/2007/152]") [ID 19345]
05.03.2007 - Source: UN Human Rights Council (formerly UN Commission on Human Rights)
Report on the human rights situation (discrimination, violence against women, armed conflict and violence, impunity, deficits in democracy, institutional capacity and technical cooperation) ("Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and on the achievements of technical assistance in the field of human rights [A/HRC/4/98]") [ID 19357]
"Despite progress, Afghanistan’s formal justice system continues to face systemic problems. With the support of the international community and donor nations, training of judicial professionals is ongoing, physical infrastructure is being built and the capacity of the permanent justice institutions has increased, including through the enactment of key new legislation. However, in some provinces and districts effective State institutions are still largely absent or are subject to corruption, pressure from armed groups and, in some areas, insecurity and violence."
20.02.2007 - Source: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
Monthly bulletin on issues discussed in the parliament (January 2007) ("National Reconciliation and Co-existence" bill introduced: All those who had taken part in the Jihad and Muqaumat (resistance) should be treated with respect within the framework of the Islamic Government and should be immune from any kind of attack) ("Parliamentary Bulletin: January 2007") [ID 18887]
" On 19 December 2005 the Afghan Parliament came together for the first time in three decades. The inaugural gathering began with a reading from the Koran and was followed by a brief speech by the ageing former King Zahir Shah, who was ousted in a coup in 1973. “I thank God that today I am participating in a ceremony that is a step towards rebuilding Afghanistan after decades of fighting. The people of Afghanistan will succeed!" the 91-year-old Zahir Shah told the assembly to applause. The parliamentary and provincial council elections were held on 18 September 2005. Afterwards, the first results were declared on 9 October. Final results were delayed by accusations of fraud, and were announced on 12 November. Former warlords and their followers gained the majority of seats in both the Lower House and provincial councils. Women won around 28% of the seats in the Lower House, six more than the 25% guaranteed in the Afghan Constitution which was launched in 2004. Approximately twelve million voters were eligible to vote for the 249 seats of the Wolesi Jirga, the Lower House of Parliament, and the 34 provincial councils."
02.2007 - Source: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik
Report on failure of local non-military approach for conflict resolution; intensification of military conflict is feared ("Musa-Qala-Protokoll am Ende") [ID 19073]
Report on the insurgency & counter-insurgency, including the population's perceptions ("Countering the insurgency in Afghanistan: Losing friends and making enemies") [ID 19343]
"The current insurgency consists of two different types of insurgency: one driven by political and religious concerns, another by economic incentives and legitimate grievances. The latter insurgency – a ´grassroots´ movement largely fed by social protest, unemployment and different grievances the people hold against the government and the international community – is significantly larger than the former group. It lacks the political purpose and fundamentalist nature of its counterpart. Structural unemployment, despair and extreme poverty provide an ideal recruiting ground for this insurgency. The practice of counter-insurgency in Afghanistan has so far predominantly focused on military instruments to fight against the insurgency. By doing this, it has wrongfully left out all the non-military elements that form part of counter-insurgency theory: for example humanitarian aid, economic development, establishing health care and developing the educational system. Five years after the international community committed to stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan, these instruments have been insufficiently funded and implemented. Instead, what Afghans in the south see in their daily lives from the international community are mere negative policy instruments. They see military bombing campaigns, where bombs do not distinguish between innocent civilians and insurgents. The policy of poppy crop eradication reinforces poverty and fuels both anger towards the government and the international community, while it also provides the insurgency with an easy recruitment base."
01.2007 - Source: Human Rights Watch
Karzai failed to adequately implement the Transitional Justice Action Plan ("World Report 2007") [ID 18395]
"Karzai failed to adequately implement the Transitional Justice Action Plan, a five-year process to gather information about Afghanistan’s legacy of warfare and violence and to consider methods of achieving accountability. His cabinet approved the plan in December 2005, but it has languished pending the required presidential announcement.
The Taliban and other anti-government forces used the government’s failure to confront warlords in the government to gain public support and discredit Karzai’s administration and its international backers. The Taliban have reintroduced their brutal brand of justice in southern Afghanistan, taking advantage of the failure of the international community to provide promised assistance in reestablishing Afghanistan’s judiciary."
11.12.2006 - Source: Schweizerische Flüchtlingshilfe
The international community and the Afghan government adopted on the 31 January 2006 the Afghanistan Compact; the compact arranges the political programme as well as the time frame for the next 5 years ("Afghanistan; Update") [ID 18379]
"Der am 31. Januar 2006 von der internationalen Gemeinschaft und der afghanischen Regierung verabschiedete Afghanistan Compact legt das politische Programm und den Zeitplan für die nächsten fünf Jahre fest, um wichtige Ziele wie Sicherheit, Governance, Rechtsstaatlichkeit, Menschenrechte sowie wirtschaftliche und soziale Entwicklung zu erreichen."
26.11.2004 - Source: UN General Assembly
Report focused on political developments, security situation (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, police and justice reform) human rights situation, health and nutrition, voluntary repatriation and reintegration ("Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security - Emergency international assistance for peace, normalcy and reconstruction of war-stricken Afghanistan A/59/581 S/2004/925") [#27496], [ID 944]
"41. Throughout the past year, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission continued to develop its institutional strength and to implement its work plan in five areas: monitoring and investigation, women’s rights, children’s rights, human rights education and transitional justice. It now has 10 offices and more than 300 staff. Major achievements included its establishment as a permanent body under the new Constitution; an extensive consultation exercise among the Afghan population on transitional justice; the joint Commission-UNAMA political rights verification campaign, which issued three public reports before the election on the conditions for the free exercise of political rights (the Commission was also an accredited election observer and monitored about 1,000 polling sites); successfully taking up highprofile cases; processing more than 100 complaints; and holding some 200 human rights education and training workshops. The Commission receives extensive institutional support from UNDP."
07.03.2003 - Source: Danish Immigration Service
Report on the Human Rights Commission ("The Political, Security and Human Rights Situation in Afghanistan: Report on fact-finding mission to Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan and Islamabad, Pakistan; 22 September - 5 October 2002") [#11326], [ID 949]
"The Head of the national human rights commission secretariat (Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) advised that the commission was a result of the Bonn Agreement and was authorized by a presidential decree from Karzai. The commission is independent and consists of 11 members, of which 5 are women, and is headed by Sima Samar, the former Minister for Women's Affairs in the interim administration. With a view to the safety of Sima Samar, the commission has moved to new premises on the outskirts of Kabul. This source also said that for the first two years, the commission will be funded by international donors, but after the election in 2004, the commission wages are supposed to be paid by the state.
The senior adviser of UNAMA also said that the commission was established following a presidential decree, but that it is supposed later to be authorized by the future, new Constitution and that it is not supposed to be placed under the executive power, i.e. it must be independent. The head of the National Human Rights Commission secretariat further said that the commission is still in its formative stage and is trying to consolidate itself. It is currently building up competence and preparing a strategy for future work. The commission has a broad mandate which on the one hand covers information and the dissemination of knowledge about the commission, the teaching of human rights principles, and on the other hand investigation, research and decisions relating to concrete cases. In the long term the commission is expecting to open 11 new local offices in the districts, including in Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Bamian, Gardez, Kandahar, Faizabad, etc. According to the head of the secretariat, the commission has received more than 500 complaints relating to the last 2 years. The secretariat is preparing the cases and forwarding them to the commission members for decision. The majority of cases relate to economic conflicts and debt issues, and many concern matters of right of ownership, including issues about the lack of support from the police in relation to home occupations. In this context the source said that the government has now set up a commission to deal exclusively with issues relating to property disputes, and consequently this commission will be taking over this type of case. Out of the 500-plus cases referred to the commission, there are about 20 matters, according to the source, which directly relate to human rights issues, including several complaints concerning injustices against civilians committed by the various warlords. The commission may refer the cases to the courts or by means of counselling assist the conflicting parties in arriving at a solution. In this connection it was emphasized by the source that each case must be assessed within the framework of and with due respect for Afghan culture.
All sources consulted spoke positively about the human rights commission having been set up in accordance with the Bonn Agreement. The senior advisor of UNAMA pointed out that the human rights commission has only recently been established and accordingly, it is not as yet very visible in the community. At this stage, the commission has not managed to build up the required competence, and also, there is insufficient funding. Furthermore, the commission has not created a system for the monitoring of the human rights situation in the country.
The Norwegian ambassador said that the only commission which so far has been established and started its work is the human rights commission; however, it was not his impression that it has regular meetings. He added that it is uncertain whether the government genuinely wants the commission to be effective, as Sima Samar, appointed the Chief of the commission, has been sidelined compared to her former post as the minister for women's affairs in the interim administration. It was the opinion of a Western diplomat, that the commission had started its work and that the commission has a difficult task ahead. He also said that he considered the commission to be entirely independent. The big question about the future of the commission is the amount of impact given to its recommendations and views in relation to the government and the judicial system. In this context he considered it to be a problem, that the commission does not have sufficient funding to investigate the complaints so far received.
The coordinator of the International Human Rights Law Group believed that the persons appointed as members of the commission had the competence required to do a good job, and expected the commission to work independently. The most significant problem for the commission is the lack of funding and not least that the commission does not have a "Task Force" in terms of investigating and implementing human rights. This should be seen in relation to the current security problems in Afghanistan, where the government is only in control of Kabul, whereas the control of the rest of the country is divided among the various warlords. Furthermore, he pointed to the fact that the judicial system is inadequate. He was also concerned about the fact that there are no clear guidelines for procedure and competence as regards to whom the commission should submit its recommendations, and even more importantly whether those, to whom the matters are referred, have a duty to act. It was the opinion of the source that it would probably be some time before the results of the commission's work would be known. The coordinator was surprised that the government had set up another commission to deal with the investigation of reports of mass graves in the north, rather than referring the matter to the human rights commission. He further said that he found it exceedingly strange that the human rights commission had not reacted to this, nor had it instigated its own investigations."
13.01.2003 - Source: UN Human Rights Council (formerly UN Commission on Human Rights)
HRC: Need to develop its capacity ("Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world E/CN.4/2003/39") [#10757], [ID 950]
"10. At their meeting with the Special Rapporteur, the members of the Human Rights Commission underscored the fact that it needed to develop its capacity to deal with the wide range of tasks entrusted to it. It had already received over 500 complaints. It awaited the arrival of a consultant who would assist in developing the methods and procedures for dealing with the complaints. The consultant has since arrived. The complaints involved 17 different types of human rights violation and abuse."