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.

What Next for the AIHRC (2): Civil Society Responses

Sari Kouvo

When three of the nine members of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) were removed by President Hamed Karzai in December, it laid bare the fragile position of human rights activism in Afghanistan. In AAN’s second blog* on the removal of the AIHRC Commissioners, Sari Kouvo takes a look at how the President’s move […]

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Another Blow to Justice: Three Commissioners Fired from the AIHRC

Thomas Ruttig

Three of the nine members of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), one of the most successful, outspoken and internationally venerated institutions of post-Taleban Afghanistan, are losing their posts. What has been declared as a normal process, of bringing fresh blood into the commission, smells very political, though. It rather looks as if this is […]

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The Past is Here to Stay: Listening to Afghan Voices on Justice and Reconciliation

Sari Kouvo

The abuses and violations suffered by Afghans during the conflicts are all but forgotten, and although pragmatic about what is possible in the current security environment, Afghans seem to view reconciliation and justice as intimately linked. AAN’s Sari Kouvo takes a look at recent publications by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) documenting Afghan […]

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Guest Blog: Right and Justice Party – possible trail-blazer for an Afghan centrism (AMENDED)

Ahmad Shuja

We have already reported about the latest addition to the Afghan political party landscape, Hezb-e Haq wa Edalat (Right and Justice Party), which had been launched in Kabul on 3 November. This is an Afghan take on the new party, by our guest blogger Ahmad Shuja* who argues that it is stepping into new territory […]

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Afghan women prisoners listen to their teacher in a class in the women's section of the Herat prison on August 16, 2009. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI (Photo by BEHROUZ MEHRI / AFP)

Mothers behind Bars: What about the Children?

Sari Kouvo

Growing up with few evident opportunities and with conflict constantly lurking at the door is the reality for most Afghan children and youth. A group that gets more than its fair share of brick walls and violence are the children that grow up with their mothers in prison. AAN’s Sari Kouvo and Naheed Esar Malikzay […]

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NDS Torture: UN Report Makes Bleak Reading

Kate Clark

UNAMA has released a major report on torture in National Directorate of Security (NDS) and police detention. For those of us who have worked on war crimes investigations post-1978, it makes desolate reading. The places of torture and many of the methods are familiar from testimony from victims of previous governments, including the Taleban’s. What […]

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The first Human Rights Film Festival in Afghanistan; a collection of inhuman true stories

Naheed Esar Malikzay

‘There are about 33 human rights film festivals around the world, however, none of them taking place in the very Middle Eastern or Central Asian Countries which are gravely affected by human right violations’, the director of AHRF (Autumn Human Rights Film Festival) Malek Shafi’i told reporters. For the first time, from 1-7 of October, […]

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Women and Reconciliation (3): One Step Forward and a Running Match Backwards

Sari Kouvo

This week three major reports about women’s participation in a possible peace process and their stake in the future of Afghanistan were released. The key messages of the reports are that women’s achievements are fragile, and that they are now eroding. AAN’s Sari Kouvo had a look at the Afghanistan Women’s Network’s, ActionAid’s and OXFAM’s […]

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Nobel Peace Prize: Not Sima, Again

Thomas Ruttig

Congratulations to Tawakul Karman from Yemen and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee from Liberia for this year’s Nobel Peace Price. The citation given by the Swedish committee that awards the prize is also to the point: it was given for the three laureats’ ‘non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights […]

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Women’s Rights after 2001: Progress, but much of it on paper only

Thomas Ruttig

Ten years ago on 7 October, the first US bombs fell on Afghanistan – the ouverture to the US-led international intervention on Afghanistan. Thomas Ruttig, an AAN Senior Analyst, interviewed AIHRC commissioner Dr Soraya Rahim Sobhrang* to get her view on the balance of this intervention, with a particular focus on women’s rights. AAN: When […]

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Pashto Women’s Poetry – A Mirror of their Social Status?

Naheed Esar Malikzay

“My love will gather us both together on the day of resurrection Brutes have placed stones between us in this world.” – On Friday, 16 September, the Mirman Baheer Association, a Pashtun women’s socio-cultural network, met in Kabul.* It was the third gathering of Pashto women poets by the Association and it brought together more […]

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Women and Reconciliation (2): The Dangers of Representing Women as Victims

Deborah Smith

Why are the voices and everyday experiences of Afghanistan’s rural, urban poor and working class women still so rarely heard? Why do they continue to be (re)presented as a homogeneous group of victims of their own families, communities and traditions? In this guest blog, Deborah Smith* argues that it is important to move away from […]

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