News / Asia

Weak Government and Poor Security Blamed for Afghan Rights Situation

Gary Thomas

The U.S. government's annual human rights report calls Afghanistan's human rights record poor but says much of that is because the security situation deteriorated sharply in the past year.  But, the Afghan government continues to engage in some controversial practices.

The State Department's annual report says Afghanistan racked up a poor human rights record with extrajudicial killings, torture, restrictions on the press, and violence and discrimination against women.  

But it says that increased insurgent attacks, particularly in previously unaffected areas of the north and northeast of the country, have hampered effective government and hindered humanitarian efforts.  The report says the Taliban and other insurgent groups exploited or sometimes manufactured reports of human rights abuses for propaganda reasons.

The report notes that President Hamid Karzai's re-election last year was marred by reports of widespread vote manipulation, but falls short of calling the election fraudulent.

President Karzai recently issued a decree claiming power to name all members of the Electoral Complaints Commission which investigated the complaints of electoral fraud.

Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch says the disputed election and President Karzai's takeover of the Electoral Commission are troubling.

"This is really dirty politics, and it's not about good governance, rule of law, and it's a very worrying sign," said Brad Adams. "So I think the Electoral Commission is a big problem.  And if the U.S. doesn't come out hard on the election, then this will not be an honest report."

The Afghan parliament also recently passed a law granting members of parliament amnesty for all human rights violations committed before December 2001.

Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Michael Posner said that while both developments happened after the report was written, they are not being ignored.  But, he added, Afghanistan is in the midst of a war.

"There are real subjects here for ongoing concern," said Michael Posner. "Look, Afghanistan's in the middle of a violent conflict.  It creates all sorts of tensions.  But it is - this report and our ongoing advocacy and diplomacy in Afghanistan, is very much focused on making sure that the country begins to move in the direction of more democratic rights respecting policies and actions."

But Brad Adams claims President Karzai is no longer standing up to some of the warlords responsible for many of Afghanistan's human rights abuses.

"He did this to curry favor, it seems, with very powerful warlords in the government and in parliament and outside of government, when in the past he had been willing to confront some of them," he said. "So these two things signal, I think, that Karzai has become part of the problem, no longer a moderate and part of the solution."

The report calls corruption endemic in Afghanistan, spurred on a lack of political accountability and low salaries.

You May Like

Multimedia In US, Decision Expected Soon in Racially Charged Case

Missouri town, many Americans on edge over whether jurors will indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid