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Rights Group Urges Monitoring of Human Rights in Afghanistan After Fighting Stops - 2001-11-01

The human rights group Amnesty International is calling for strong enforcement of human rights standards in Afghanistan after the fighting there stops. The secretary-general of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, says human rights should take a leading role in the international debate about the future of Afghanistan.

Ms. Khan told a news conference Thursday that human rights monitors should be sent in to Afghanistan as soon as hostilities end; and she said she is confident the world community will respond to human rights concerns because it has learned a hard lesson from its past neglect of Afghanistan. "We believe that the opportunity now is better than it has ever been in the past, because there is a realization that the human rights problems of Afghanistan are not only the problems of the people of Afghanistan. They have a direct and important impact on international and regional peace and stability," she said.

Amnesty International has documented human rights abuses perpetrated by the ruling Taleban and the opposition factions. Ms. Khan said human rights abusers must have no role in Afghanistan's political future. "I think there is a responsibility on the U.N. and on others who are carrying out political negotiations to make sure that credible leadership is given an opportunity to come forward," she said, "and that deals are not struck with known and suspected perpetrators [of human rights abuses]."

In a report released Thursday, Amnesty International says there should be no impunity for human rights abusers after the fighting stops. It says Afghanistan will not achieve peace by avoiding the truth about the past and ignoring accountability.