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UN Voices Concern Over Proposed Amnesty Plan in Afghanistan

The United Nations has voiced concern over a proposal by Afghan lawmakers to grant amnesty to those accused of human-rights abuses.

In a statement released Friday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said those responsible for serious human-rights violations must be brought to justice. The voices of the victims must be heard, she said, and the culture of impunity in Afghanistan must end.

The U.N. commissioner said experience has shown that effective national reconciliation is based on respect for international human-rights standards and the rule of law.

On Thursday, Afghanistan's lower parliament passed a law that ruled out prosecution of any member of a political or militia group accused of human-rights abuses in the past 25 years.

International rights groups have urged the Afghan government to put on trial Afghans accused of rights abuses, including some who are members of parliament.

The amnesty law must be approved by the upper house of parliament and signed by President Hamid Karzai before it would take effect.