World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Afghanistan: Candidates’ Positions on Rights in Spotlight

Responses to Survey From 4 of 11 Presidential Contenders on Key Rights Issues
February 9, 2014

(Kabul) – Presidential candidates’ positions on human rights should be a central focus in the run-up to the April 2014 presidential elections inAfghanistan, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing candidates’ responses to a new human rights questionnaire.

Four of the 11 candidates in Afghanistan’s scheduled April 5, 2014 presidential election responded to a Human Rights Watch questionnaire on the country’s key human rights challenges. Topics covered include accountability for war crimes, women’s rights, and torture.

“The four presidential candidates who responded to this survey deserve credit for sharing their views on these critically important issues,” said Brad Adams,Asia director. “Afghan voters need to know what commitments the prospective future presidents of Afghanistan are willing to make to address torture, women’s rights, militias, and accountability. The responses to our questionnaire are part of that process.”

On December 2, 2013, Human Rights Watch sent a questionnaire on human rights to all 11 presidential campaigns. The questionnaire contained 17 questions regarding key human rights issues (see the full questionnaire in appendix 2). Human Rights Watch set a deadline of January 2, 2014, for the campaigns to return the completed questionnaire. Human Rights Watch contacted each campaign multiple times between December 2, 2013, and January 2, 2014, to ensure that they had in fact received the questionnaire and to remind them of the deadline.

The campaigns of Abdullah Abdullah, Qutbuddin Helal, and Qayum Karzai submitted completed questionnaires by the January 2 deadline. After Human Rights Watch contacted the eight presidential candidates who had not responded and extended the deadline to January 14, the campaign of Daoud Sultanzoy responded on January 18 in the form of a long email, rather than a completed questionnaire. Summaries of their answers are provided as appendix 1. The full responses from these four campaigns in their original Dari and Human Rights Watch’s English translation (except for the Sultanzoy campaign which replied in English and for which we have provided a Dari translation) are provided in appendixes 3-6. The other seven candidates did not respond.

The Human Rights Watch survey of Afghan presidential candidates is part of a broader effort in Afghanistan to assess candidates’ views on key human rights issues. In December 2013 the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission held a forum for all presidential candidates to discuss their positions on a range of human rights issues. Five candidates – Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah, Helal, Sultanzoy, and Abdul Rasul Sayyaf – attended. A sixth, Zalmai Rassoul, sent one of his vice presidential running mates in his place. The Women’s Political Rights Advocacy Group organized a January 26, 2014 forum for presidential candidates on women’s rights. Four of the candidates – Sultanzoy, Abdullah, Naem, and Karzai – attended. Two other candidates, Sayyaf and Gul Agha Sherzai, sent representatives.

Term limits in the Afghan constitution bar the current president, Hamid Karzai, from reelection. Karzai has presided over some positive developments on human rights, including greater media freedom, significant progress on women’s rights, and the establishment of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

However, the Karzai government has failed to address accountability for past and ongoing grave crimes, torture and ill-treatment in custody, efforts to curtail press freedom, and serious erosion in the past year of women’s rights improvements.

“Afghan presidential candidates should make their positions and plans for defending human rights clear and transparent,” Adams said. “Afghan voters should go to the polls with full knowledge of their prospective leaders’ positions on these life-and-death issues.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Health Agency Responds To Ebola Spike

UN health agency responds to Ebola spike by deploying team on border of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau More>>

UN Casts Israel As World's Worst Violator Of Health Rights

Israel's army team of medics recently treated 1,600 victims of the Nepal earthquake. More>>

W Thousands Flee Syria’s Besieged Historic City Of Palmyra

As thousands flee Syria’s besieged historic city of Palmyra, UN refugee agency readies response plan More>>

UN Agency To Halt Housing Allowance For Palestine Refugees

Lack of funds forces UNRWA to suspend cash assistance for housing for Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon. Photo: UNRWA/Shafiq Fahed More>>


Bangkok: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphophia

BMA, UN, embassy representatives, civil society and artists stand united with LGBTI Thais on International Day against Transphobia, Homophobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre More>>

Displaced Iraqis Face Difficulties As Fighting Continues

UNHCR is concerned about the processing arrangements in place at the Bzabz bridge – a series of pontoons across the Euphrates River which marks the boundary between Anbar province and the capital, Baghdad. Photo: UNHCR/G. Ohara More>>

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing Of Bangladeshi Blogger

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz The head of the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom worldwide today voiced ... More>>

Philadelphia: Train Crash

Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 136 people injured after an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia today at 9.20pm local time.More>>

UN News: Alarming Surge In Bay Of Bengal Crossings

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Bay of Bengal has almost doubled over the past year amid a dangerous uptick in human smuggling and trafficking across the region, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news