MONITORING (SW) – Afghanistan’s human rights community are facing face intimidation, harassment, threats and violence amid intensifying attacks from both the authorities and armed groups, Amnesty International said in a new briefing released on Wednesday
While violence escalates in Afghanistan - last year saw the highest levels of civilian deaths on record - human rights defenders and activists have been largely ignored by the Afghan government and the international community.
In the briefing, Defenseless Defenders: Attacks on Afghanistan’s Human Rights Community, Amnesty reveals how the Afghan government has repeatedly failed to investigate attacks on activists, sometimes accusing them of ‘fabricating’ their claims and even telling them to take up arms to defend themselves.
Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International, said: “This is one of the most dangerous moments to be a human rights activist in Afghanistan. Not only do they operate in one of the most hazardous environments, but they face threats from both the government and armed groups. “Afghanistan’s human rights defenders and activists have shown great courage despite the very difficult context in which they operate. Faced with grave threats to their lives and well-being, they continue to speak up against injustice and stand up for the rights of others.
“The Afghan government has a duty to respect, protect and support activists, to investigate threats and attacks against them, and to hold suspected perpetrators accountable.
“The international community has an important role to play here. They have long paid tribute to the bravery of Afghanistan’s human rights activists, but they have failed to recognise their achievements and effectively support them at this increasingly difficult time. The international community must step forward and provide Afghanistan’s human rights community with the support they urgently need.”
In the briefing, Amnesty details how human rights defenders and activists have been intimidated, harassed, threatened, shot at, and killed in attacks that the Afghan authorities have failed to investigate and prosecute.
Meanwhile, Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the presidency, said the government is striving hard to ensure safety of the citizens.