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


Afghan Justice And Reconciliation Plan Hailed

Afghanistan: UN Officials Hail Justice And Reconciliation Plan to Bury Past Enmity

New York, Dec 13 2005 5:00PM

Citing lessons from truth commissions in other States seeking to surmount troubled pasts, United Nations officials today hailed the Afghan Government’s adoption of a plan for justice and reconciliation as a “new and very important dimension” for peace in a country torn asunder by 25 years of war and violence and abuses.

“Addressing head-on the sequels of abuses and violence of the past 25 years, rebuilding confidence among those whose lives were crushed by the war, healing the very deep confrontations of the past and restoring the values of tolerance and trust… does not require international forces,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Jean Arnault told the Transitional Justice Conference: Truth-Seeking and Reconciliation in Afghanistan.

“It does not require massive investments. It does not require legions of foreign experts. It is, nevertheless, one of the most difficult tasks that any country can face,” he said at the conference’s opening in Kabul, the capital. “Indeed it is a challenge that, I am afraid, many countries have failed to meet – and have paid the consequences for it.

“The battle lines of the civil war have been allowed to shape the political landscape. A culture of violence, impunity and intolerance survives unchecked, and the sufferings of the victims continue to haunt the survivors. In short, the burden of a violent past is allowed to frustrate the efforts at giving society a fresh start.”

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Mehr Khan Williams noted the challenges involved in accounting for past abuses, the conflicting priorities that have to be balanced, the tense security situation, particularly in the south and southeast of Afghanistan that underscore how fragile the transition from conflict to peace is.

“In these circumstances, it is argued that Afghanistan can neither risk nor afford to address the issue of accountability,” she said. “I would argue that Afghanistan can neither risk nor afford not to.”

She noted that the UN had supported truth and reconciliation initiatives in a number of countries such as Sierra Leone, Burundi, Liberia, and Timor Leste, and that representatives from truth and reconciliation commissions in Sierra Leone and South Africa were present to share their experiences.

Many people saw transitional justice primarily as meaning trials, and fact-finding commissions and reconciliation initiatives as “soft options” – a second best when “real justice” is not possible, but truth, reconciliation and justice are mutually reinforcing, she said.

International law requires there be no impunity for those who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, but not every offender must be punished in order to achieve respect for the rule of law. Societies have the right to demand a full and impartial narration of the past without closing the door on criminal responsibility, she added.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

UN Report: Civilian Casualties Surged After Peace Talks Began In Afghanistan

Monitoring by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and the UN Human Rights Office has revealed that despite a drop in civilians killed and injured overall in 2020 there was a rise in civilian casualties following the start of peace negotiations ... More>>

Climate: UN Chief Lauds ‘day Of Hope’ As US Officially Rejoins Paris Climate Accord

The official return of the United States to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change represents good news for the country and the world, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday during a virtual event to mark the occasion. The US, under ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>

Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>

WeBeliev: Scoop In Conversation With Abhishek Sinha, Founder Of WeBeliev, An NZ Crowdfunding Platform

WeBeliev supports 17 SDGs, launching sector specific campaigns every month Q. What is WeBeliev and why did you start it? A. WeBeliev is a Singapore-registered crowdfunding platform aimed at fundraising for all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ... More>>