Afghanistan

A statement by the AIHRC on the commencement of the upcoming election campaign for presidential and provincial Councils polls in 1393

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Kabul, 14 Dalw 1392,

The AIHRC welcomes the commencement of the election campaign process in our country. Through this process, and taking advantage of the freedoms available in the political system of our country, the candidates can publicize their views, ideas and programs regarding the future governance. But there are concerns about the way and methods of launching election campaigns and contest among candidates, which can affect the holding of transparent and fair election process. In order to avert or do away with the existing challenges and concerns, and to secure fair elections in the country, the AIHRC respectfully makes demands from the candidates to take full consideration of the following points:

Respect and adherence to the principles and norms of human rights should be the top agenda of the candidates’ programs. In spite of palpable achievements of Afghanistan in different areas of human rights such as education, freedom of speech, participation in cultural, social and political activities, evaluations show that human rights in Afghanistan are still faced with numerous potential challenges and restrictions. Therefore, it is necessary that the candidates not only in their elections programs, but also in their executive and practical programs of the future government give a top priority to the institutionalization of human rights principles and promotion of the AIHRC status.

Political principles (non-intimidation, impartiality and non-discrimination) and political rights (freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of founding associations and freedom of assembly) should form the guidelines for the candidates in the political arena and in the civil rights area so that they could regulate all their practical programs in the future. The past year challenges in Afghanistan such as conflict, insecurity, weakness of the rule of law, corruption and fraud in the government organs and institutions, in general, have caused instability in the individual’s entitlement to their human rights. Therefore, the candidates need to show that they are committed to their pledges in respect to human rights in general and in the political rights in particular. Additionally, duties and responsibilities of government, civil society leaders and scholars in the country are extremely important. In this respect, Dr. Sima Samar, head of the AIHRC, has stated, “The AIHRC requests all the election-related and the government institutions to show their impartiality during the election campaign and help create a trustful atmosphere in this democratic process and allow the people be involved in making their political future so that they may comply with this national duty of theirs in a responsible manner, looking forward to the people’s success in this regard.

Observance of general principles and moralities, lack of degradation and disqualification of the personality of the candidates and their supporters and respect of the laws are the other issues that the candidates should consider during electoral campaigns. The candidates should present specific and realistic plans and programs to the people, and should not use their financial resources illegally to obtain the people’s votes. The candidates themselves as the representatives of different folks of society should be a model of respect for human rights in the society. It means that the candidates should not commit a violation of human rights, intimidation and degradation of different tribal, religious or gender groups for getting the people’s votes.

Likewise, having the honesty in their propaganda and adherence to their obligations and its implementation after winning the election are of the conditions that are in perfect conformity with the religious and moral principles of the Afghan society and the principles of democracy. Therefore, the candidates must not publicize the plans and commitments that they are not able to fulfill or which are against the country and human rights interests, and should not abuse the freedoms available in the political arena of the country. The lack of observance of these issues will cause public pessimism towards the functions of the democratic system in the country and procure public despondency from the future government. Hoping that the electoral campaign period, would be an appropriate opportunity for the people of Afghanistan, both men and women to knowingly elect the political leaders of their country, and this way accessibility to human rights will be obtained for everyone in the country.