Afghanistan Fails To Improve Human Rights Conditions

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Kabul: Afghanistan has failed to remedy a series of chronic human rights abuses ranging from the torture of prisoners by security forces to brutal mistreatment of women, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Wednesday.

The rights watchdog’s 2016 annual report said reform efforts by President Ashraf Ghani’s national unity government had been undermined by failure to contain internal differences and keep local strongmen and power brokers in check.

“Afghanistan’s national unity government squandered important opportunities to tackle serious human rights problems,” Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“As reforms have slipped, so have essential human rights protections for detainees, women, and the media.”

HRW said international donors, whose support is essential to the government of one of the world’s poorest economies, had to work more closely with Afghan authorities to ensure that human rights gains made since 2001 were not lost.

The section on Afghanistan, part of a 659-page report reviewing human rights practices in more than 90 countries, painted a bleak picture more than 14 years after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power.

The brutal murder of 27 year-old Farkhunda Malikzada after she was falsely accused of burning a copy of the Koran and the flawed trial which followed threw into stark relief the failure to advance women’s rights, despite repeated government pledges, the report said.

Hundreds of civilians were also killed in suicide and roadside bomb attacks last year. Islamist insurgents targeted judges, prosecutors and other government officials as well as journalists and Afghan and foreign aid workers.

In addition, Taliban groups and others including Islamic State carried out kidnappings and “indiscriminate” attacks against civilians, the report said.

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