Afghanistan

Situation of human rights in Afghanistan, and technical assistance achievements in the field of human rights - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/46/69)

Format
UN Document
Source
Posted
Originally published
Origin
View original

Attachments

Human Rights Council
Forty-sixth session
22 February–19 March 2021
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

Submitted pursuant to decision 2/113 and resolution 14/15 of the Human Rights Council, the present report contains a description of the situation of human rights in Afghanistan from 1 January to 30 November 2020, and provides an overview of the work, including technical assistance, conducted by the Human Rights Service of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The report is focused on the five principal areas of work of the Human Rights Service: the protection of civilians in armed conflict; children and armed conflict; the elimination of violence against women and the promotion of women’s rights; the prevention of torture and respect for procedural safeguards; and civic space and the integration of human rights into peace and reconciliation processes. The High Commissioner highlights the technical assistance provided by the Human Rights Service and the achievements under these areas.

The report concludes with recommendations addressed to the Government, antigovernment elements and the international community.

I. Introduction

1. Submitted pursuant to decision 2/113 and resolution 14/15 of the Human Rights Council, the present report covers the period between 1 January and 30 November 2020. It was prepared in cooperation with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

2. The report focuses on the five priority areas of work of the Human Rights Service of UNAMA: the protection of civilians in armed conflict; children and armed conflict; the elimination of violence against women and the promotion of women’s rights; the prevention of torture and respect for procedural safeguards; and civic space and the integration of human rights into peace and reconciliation processes.

3. During the period under review, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) continued to provide technical and financial support to the UNAMA Human Rights Service.

II. Context

4. On 29 February, the United States of America and the Taliban signed an agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan. The initial release of prisoners foreseen in the agreement was completed in September. On the same date, Afghanistan and the United States signed a joint declaration for bringing peace to Afghanistan, and on 12 September, the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations were inaugurated.

5. Civilians continued to bear the brunt of the armed conflict. While UNAMA and OHCHR documented a decrease in conflict-related civilian casualties in comparison with the same period in 2019, the level of civilian harm remained high. There were, however, short respites from violence the week before the signing of the agreement between the United States and the Taliban and during the two 3-day ceasefires during the religious celebrations of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The overall decrease was mainly caused by a drop in civilian casualties from the airstrikes of international military forces and suicide attacks carried out by anti-government elements. This was partly offset by an increase of civilian casualties from Taliban pressure-plate improvised explosive devices and Afghan Air Force airstrikes. The start of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations has not yet led to a decrease in civilian casualties.