Afghanistan’s President and a senior UN official today condemned widespread human rights violations in the country and urged that perpetrators be held to account.
Speaking at an event in Kabul to mark International Human Rights Day, President Ashraf Ghani spoke out against torture and violence, especially the recent upsurge in attacks by anti-government elements. “These attacks are no longer acceptable," said the President. "They are not Islamic, they are not humane."
Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, called for an end to the culture of impunity. “There must be accountability for all those who commit human rights violations, and real efforts to end the entrenched impunity that has been a feature of Afghan society for so long,” he said.
Many speakers at the Human Rights Day event, introduced by the chair of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Sima Samar, focused, in particular, on the rights of innocent civilians caught in the country’s conflict and directly and indirectly targeted by violent attacks.
President Ghani called attention to the enduring relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948.
Mr. Yamamoto said that every day in Afghanistan is a day the UN works diligently to ensure that all Afghans can gain equality, dignity and freedom.
“With the formation of the National Unity Government, committed to a reform agenda, we believe there is a genuine opportunity to consolidate and expand the human rights protections achieved so far,” said Mr. Yamamoto.