Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

“NUG Must Do More for Human Rights”

Though emphasized and highlighted to a large extent, the issue of human rights violations remain persistent in Afghanistan. Since, the downfall of Taliban, though there have been many claims, the situation of human rights has not improved to a satisfactory level and most of the finances and the energies that were directed towards solving this issue have ended up in smoke. Researches and statistics by reputable and reliable institutions show that Afghanistan is one of the countries with most human rights violations and the government and other responsible organizations have not been able to perform their responsibilities sufficiently.
The change in government in the last elections could prove to be a ray of hope but only temporarily; as the National Unity Government (NUG) got involved in the tussles related to the power sharing formula. All the promises that were made before the elections regarding protecting the human rights and particularly the women rights were forgotten. Even after the elections the NUG leaders made commitments that they would take tangible measures to deal with the issues of human rights violation but unfortunately, those measures are not being pursued with true determination.
A recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) has disclosed that NUG has failed to make significant gains in achieving human rights reforms in 2015 and little progress has been made in reining in abusive militias, reducing corruption, promoting women’s rights, and reforming the courts. However, it is important to note that the government had the opportunity to take bold initiatives and initiate a clear strategy in this regard but it was reluctant to do so. Even it could gather the required support and assistance as well from the international community.
There is no doubt in the fact that NUG did not inherit a satisfactory policy initiative and mechanism from the previous government and it had to start so many things from the scraps but the situation was not so that it could not do anything worthwhile. The fact of the matter is that it did not pay enough attention to the issue. Over burdening itself with other issues, the government had little time to concentrate on this matter. And, the result is clearly evident from the report given by HRW. 
HRW senior researcher, Patricia Gossman, rightly observes, “Afghanistan’s national unity government squandered important opportunities to tackle serious human rights problems… As reforms have slipped, so have essential human rights protections for detainees, women, and the media. Donors will need to work more closely with the Afghan government to ensure that the fragile gains of the past 14 years aren’t lost.”
It is imperative that the gains that have been made after years of sacrifices and aids of millions of dollars should not be lost. NUG has to shoulder the responsibility in a true sense. It is not only about gaining aid and support from the international community but it is also vital for the betterment of Afghan society as a whole that the basic human rights must be preserved.
The government must also be careful that it does not make concessions and compromises regarding the basic human rights in the deal with Taliban. Taliban insist for their version of Shariah law and they may set conditions wherein they can ask for the changes in Afghan constitution and government policies regarding the rights of women, children and minorities. Such conditions should never be accepted and the gains should not be sacrificed for the political purposes.     
For the policy makers in Afghanistan it is necessary that the policies should meet the international concept of human rights that is developed on the basis of the United Nations Charter and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 1 of the UDHR says, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Its preamble also emphasizes on the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
The objective for Afghan government to play a tremendous role can be what is set forth in Article 55 of United Nations Charter which suggests for ‘(a) higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development; b) solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; c) international cultural and educational cooperation; d) universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion’.
To be very much realistic about Afghanistan, one can say that guidelines are many; the only missing factor is practical measure. There is a wide gap between the guidelines/commitments and actions, and this gap becomes wider once the intentions and honesty are doubted; and in case of Afghanistan this gap is really wide.