Afghanistan

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Afghanistan and technical assistance achievements in the field of human rights (A/HRC/19/47)

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Human Rights Council
Nineteenth session
Agenda items 2 and 10
Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the
High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Technical assistance and capacity-building

Summary

The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council decision 2/113 of 27 November 2006 and resolution 14/15 of 18 June 2010, describes ongoing human rights concerns in Afghanistan and proposes recommendations to address them, as well as actions the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is taking to support and strengthen institutional capacity in the country through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Throughout 2011, conflict-related violence continued to claim the lives of numerous civilians in Afghanistan. Intensified operations by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), as well as sustained insurgent attacks by Anti-Government Elements have resulted in a rising toll of civilian casualties, increased conflict-related displacement and detrimental impact on women, children and displaced populations. Protection of civilians remains a crucial human rights issue, particularly with the transition of lead security responsibility from the international forces to ANSF, which began on 20 July 2011 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

Despite some gains in the spheres of education and health, particularly for women, impunity, poor governance, characterized by corruption, inability to provide essential services, including security and access to justice, have disappointed aspirations of the vast majority of Afghans. Violence against women and girls, including sexual violence and harmful traditional practices, continue to be widespread. Arbitrary detention and the lack of respect for due process remain major concerns. Impunity is still widespread and accountability for human rights violations weak, affecting the Government’s commitment to promote transitional justice.

Capacity-building of national human rights institutions and civil society organizations is key to the development of national human rights protection mechanisms. The Human Rights Unit of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (OHCHR/UNAMA) continues to support and carry out joint activities with civil society organizations throughout Afghanistan on initiatives such as the Afghan People’s Dialogue on Peace.