Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Rights and Freedoms

This thematic category comprises of AAN’s reporting on human rights, including women’s rights, media freedom, rule of law, governance and democratisation.

UN Torture Report: still no accountability for torture

Kate Clark

UNAMA’s new report on the torture of ‘conflict related detainees’ makes bleak reading and not only because of the scale and weight of evidence against Afghan intelligence and the police. UNAMA reported that more than half of those interviewed had experienced torture or ill-treatment. They included children as young as 14. The UN also says […]

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Where Many Streets Have No Name: One for the Freedom of Speech?

Thomas Ruttig

Afghan journalists want to rename a street in central Kabul ‘Freedom of Speech Street’ to honour the many colleagues who have sacrificed their lives in this cause over the past ten years. Their initiative has met some resistance – not because of the content but because the street already bears the name of an independence […]

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Speaking Out for Justice: An Initial Victory for Women Victims of Violence

Wazhma Samandary

Recently Afghan TV channels and news agencies have reported on an increasing number of cases of violence against women around the country. Only in the two first weeks of December at least four cases of murder were discussed in the media. In reaction to the violent incidents, civil society organizations and women’s rights activists started […]

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After the Executions: What approach to the death penalty?

Thomas Ruttig

After the execution of 14 prisoners last week, Afghan civil society has rightly ridiculed the Taleban who demanded an end to executions. But it has not taken up the question of the death penalty in Afghanistan in general. Capital punishment is legal under both the Afghan penal code and sharia. Even so, the well-known problems […]

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New Commissioners for Human Rights: An End to the Standstill, or an End to Human Rights? [Amended]

Sari Kouvo

A reshuffle of the commissioners of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) seems to be moving closer. However, the criteria along which new candidates are chosen remain unclear and subject to (factional) politicking. There is a grave danger that human rights concerns will fall victim to these unrelated considerations. At least four new appointments […]

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Put Principles Back at Centre-Stage: Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

Ann Wilkens

While the international community focuses on transition and disengagement from Afghanistan, women´s rights – invoked to justify the 2001 anti-Taleban intervention and thereafter used whenever handy – have again been relegated to the back burner. The continued prioritisation of prosecuting women for ‘moral crimes’ while – despite some recent high-profile cases – under-emphasising rape cases […]

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Correcting Details: More on the NYT Reporting the Human Rights Mapping

Kate Clark

The New York Times piece ‘Top Afghans Tied to ’90s Carnage, Researchers Say’ ‘revealed’ what everyone knows and rarely says, that many of today’s senior Afghan politicians have murky pasts. Talking about the war crimes of the last thirty years has proved difficult for Afghans and the international powers alike. The decision, in 2005, to […]

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The ruined Dar-ul-Aman palace. Photo: Thomas Ruttig.

The Cloak of Silence: Afghanistan’s Human Rights Mappings

Ahmed Rashid

On 22 July, the New York Times came out with an article on human rights abuses in Afghanistan which it wrote up based on a document that has neither been published (although it is waiting for publication since many months, and Afghan groups have now demanded that it finally happens)(1) nor it apparently has been […]

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Written in Ice? Protests after the public execution of a woman in Parwan

Obaid Ali

There have been fresh demonstrations condemning the public execution of a young woman, Najiba, in a Taleban-controlled village in a province just to the north of Kabul – in June. The video of the execution, which was shown across the world, alerted many to how near the capital Taleban ‘rule’ extended. However, the target of […]

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The Mud Might Stick: Women’s Shelters Again

Sari Kouvo

On 17 June, the Minister of Justice, Habibullah Ghaleb, said that women’s shelters were safe havens for immorality and prostitution. He was later to apologize after stirring up fierce debate in Afghan media and elsewhere about women’s shelters and provoking defences of shelters by activists, the Women’s Affairs Minister and his own deputy. Nevertheless, says […]

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The Other Guantanamo 2: the Afghan State begins Internment

Kate Clark

Sources involved in the handover of Bagram detention facility from the United States to Afghanistan have told AAN that the Afghan state was due to start ruling on the internment of its own citizens there on 22 May 2012. The use of the US system of detention without trial by the Afghan government is probably […]

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No Country for Good Policemen?

Fabrizio Foschini

At the NATO summit in Chicago, everybody’s attention seems to be focused on the budget for the defence of Afghanistan and how much donors will spend after 2014, in other words on the quantity of security forces that the country will be able to field. But what about their quality? A new, excellent report on […]

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