Afghanistan

Situation of human rights in Afghanistan: Commission on Human Rights resolution 1999/9

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The Commission on Human Rights
Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and accepted humanitarian rules, as set out in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977,

Reaffirming that all Member States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to fulfil the obligations they have freely undertaken under the various international instruments,

Recalling that Afghanistan is a party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and that it has signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,

Recalling also its previous resolutions, the most recent being resolution 1998/70, the relevant General Assembly resolutions, as well as the relevant resolutions and presidential statements of the Security Council, decisions of the Economic and Social Council and resolutions of the Commission on the Status of Women,

Concerned that armed confrontation persists in Afghanistan and by the ethnic nature of the conflict,

Deeply concerned about the severe situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, in particular in all areas under the control of the Taliban movement, as documented by the continued and substantiated reports of grave violations of the human rights of women and girls, including all forms of discrimination against them, such as the denial of access to health care, to all levels and types of education, to employment outside the home and, in repeated instances, to humanitarian aid, as well as restrictions upon their freedom of movement,

Taking note with appreciation of the agreement between the Taliban and the United Nations signed on 23 October 1998 on the security of United Nations personnel in Afghanistan and calling for its full implementation,

Recalling that the United Nations continues to play its central and impartial role in international efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict, and encouraging all efforts at the national, regional and international levels aimed at finding a solution to the continuing conflict through a broad=ADbased dialogue involving all concerned actors,

Taking into account the report of the Special Adviser to the Secretary=ADGeneral on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women on her visit to Afghanistan in November 1997,

Expressing deep concern at the lack of reconstruction in Afghanistan,

1. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and of the observations contained in it (E/CN.4/1999/40);

2. Strongly condemns the mass killings and systematic human rights violations against civilians and prisoners of war;

3. Expresses its gravest concern at numerous reports of mass killings in the area of Mazar=ADi=ADSharif and Bamian by the Taliban;

4. Notes with deep concern:

(a) The continuing pattern of human rights violations in Afghanistan;

(b) The persisting armed hostilities in Afghanistan and the complex nature of the conflict, including ethnic, religious and political aspects, which have resulted in extensive human suffering, forced displacement, including on the grounds of ethnicity, and which hinder the return of the internally displaced to their homes;

(c) The continued displacement of millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as in other countries;

5. Condemns:

(a) The widespread violations and abuses of human rights and humanitarian law, including the rights to life, liberty and security of person, freedom from torture and from other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, freedom of opinion, expression, religion, association and movement;

(b) The continuing grave violations of the human rights of women and girls, including all forms of discrimination against them, in all areas of Afghanistan, particularly in areas under the control of the Taliban;

(c) The frequent practice of arbitrary arrest and detention and of summary trials, which have resulted in summary executions, throughout the country;

6. Also condemns the killing of Iranian diplomats and the correspondent of the Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency by Taliban combatants, as well as the attacks on and the killing of United Nations personnel in Taliban=ADheld territories of Afghanistan, and calls upon the Taliban to fulfil their stated commitment to cooperate in urgent investigations of these heinous crimes, with a view to bringing those responsible to justice;

7. Stresses the extensive need for rehabilitation and reconstruction as well as the necessity for national reconciliation and establishment of the rule of law, good governance and democracy in Afghanistan;

8. Urges all States to respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan and to refrain from interfering in its internal affairs, and to end immediately the supply of arms, ammunition, military equipment, training or any other military support, including providing any foreign military personnel, to all parties to the conflict;

9. Urges all the Afghan parties:

(a) To cease hostilities immediately and to work and cooperate fully with the Special Envoy of the Secretary=ADGeneral and the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan with a view to achieving a ceasefire, thus laying the foundation for a comprehensive political solution leading to the voluntary return of displaced persons to their homes in safety and dignity, the establishment of a broad=ADbased fully representative government and the full exercise of the right of self=ADdetermination of the people of Afghanistan;

(b) To reaffirm publicly their commitment to international human rights and principles and to recognize, protect and promote all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

(c) To protect civilians, to halt the use of weapons against the civilian population, to stop the laying of landmines, especially anti=ADpersonnel mines, and to prohibit conscripting or enlisting children or using them to participate in hostilities, in violation of international law, and ensure their reintegration into society;

(d) To provide efficient and effective remedies to the victims of grave violations and abuses of human rights and of accepted humanitarian rules and to bring the perpetrators to trial;

(e) To fulfil their obligations and commitments regarding the safety of all personnel of diplomatic missions, the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as of their premises in Afghanistan, and to cooperate, fully and without discrimination on grounds of gender, nationality or religion, with the United Nations and associated bodies, as well as with other humanitarian organizations, agencies and non=ADgovernmental organizations, in order to facilitate full resumption of their cooperation;

(f) To provide the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all prisoners;

(g) To treat all suspects and convicted or detained persons in accordance with relevant international instruments and to refrain from arbitrary detention, including of civilian foreign nationals, and urges their captors to release them, as well as non=ADcriminal civilian prisoners;

10. Urges all the Afghan parties, and in particular the Taliban, to bring to an end without delay all violations of human rights of women and girls and to take urgent measures to ensure:

(a) The repeal of all legislative and other measures which discriminate against women;

(b) The effective participation of women in civil, cultural, economic, political and social life throughout the country;

(c) Respect for the right of women to work, and reintegration in their employment;

(d) The right of women and girls to education without discrimination, the reopening of schools and the admission of women and girls to all levels of education;

(e) Respect for women's right to security of person, and to ensure that those responsible for physical attacks on women are brought to justice;

(f) Respect for women's freedom of movement and effective and equal access to facilities necessary to protect their right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;

11. Invites:

(a) The Secretary=ADGeneral to implement promptly security conditions permitting the decision to investigate fully reports of mass killings of prisoners of war and civilians, rape and other cruel treatment in Afghanistan, and calls upon the United Front and the Taliban to fulfil their stated commitment with respect to such investigations;

(b) The Secretary=ADGeneral to ensure that the deployment of the civilian affairs observers in Afghanistan takes place as soon as possible, security conditions permitting, and that gender issues are fully incorporated into their mission;

(c) The Secretary=ADGeneral to exert efforts to ensure a gender perspective in the selection of the staff of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan, in order to enhance the role of women in preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peacekeeping;

(d) The Special Rapporteur to continue to pay attention to the human rights of women and children and to apply a gender perspective in a similar manner in his report to the Commission at its fifty=ADsixth session;

(e) The United Nations to offer, once national reconciliation is achieved and upon request of the governmental authorities, advisory services and technical assistance concerning, inter alia, the drafting of a constitution, which should embody internationally accepted human rights principles and provide for the holding of direct elections;

12. Appeals to Member States and to the international community:

(a) To provide, on a non=ADdiscriminatory basis, humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and to the Afghan refugees in the neighbouring countries;

(b) To intensify the programme for the removal of millions of anti=ADpersonnel landmines laid in Afghanistan;

(c) To ensure that all United Nations=ADassisted programmes in Afghanistan are formulated and coordinated in such a way as to promote and ensure the participation of women in those programmes, and that women benefit equally with men from such programmes;

(d) To implement the recommendations of the inter=ADagency gender mission in Afghanistan under the leadership of the Special Adviser to the Secretary=ADGeneral on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women;

(e) To take urgent measures to prevent the demolition and the looting of cultural artefacts and ensure that artefacts that have been illegally removed are returned to Afghanistan;

13. Requests:

(a) The Afghan parties to extend their full cooperation to the Special Rapporteur and to facilitate his access to all sectors of society and to all parts of the country;

(b) The Secretary=ADGeneral to give all necessary assistance to the Special Rapporteur and to give due consideration to his recommendations in the formulation of United Nations activities in Afghanistan;

(c) The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure a human rights presence in the context of the United Nations activities in Afghanistan in order to provide advice and training in the field of human rights to all the Afghan parties, as well as to the intergovernmental and non=ADgovernmental organizations active in the field;

14. Decides:

(a) To extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for one year, and requests the Special Rapporteur to report on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan to the General Assembly at its fifty=ADfourth session and to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty=ADsixth session;

(b) To continue its consideration of the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, as a matter of high priority, at its fifty=ADsixth session under the same agenda item.

50th meeting
23 April 1999
[Adopted without a vote. See chap. IX.]