The top United Nations envoy in Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, met today in Kabul with leading civil society activists and journalists to hear their concerns over threats they have recently received from external armed groups.
“Strong and independent journalism, as well as a flourishing civil society is critical for the health and survival of a democracy,” said Nicholas Haysom. “Afghanistan can be justly proud of its civil society and the media sector, but this achievement needs to be safeguarded.
The authorities need to take all proper steps to protect those professionals who are subject to threats and intimidation. It should ensure that this vital democratic space is not subject to the chilling effect that threats to freedom of expression will inevitably have. Those that make these threats must be challenged.”
Mr. Haysom, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, denounced recent threats and the listing of journalists and civil society activists as target for “punishment” on social media sites.
Harassment and intimidation of civil society activists and journalists, he underscored, undermine human rights and the development of a democratic society which depend, in turn, on freedom of expression and thoughts.