New alliance to protect human rights in Afghanistan

A diverse array of human rights organisations have come together to establish an alliance to collectively monitor the dire human rights situation in Afghanistan and advocate for the protection of human rights and accountability for all violations and abuses.

The Alliance for Human Rights in Afghanistan members include Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, Freedom House, Freedom Now, Human Rights Watch (HRW), MADRE, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

The situation of human rights in Afghanistan has dramatically worsened since the collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban’s return to power on 15 August 2021. The fighting in the country has ended but serious human rights violations continue unabated. The Taliban have committed and continue to commit widespread human rights violations including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detentions, a massive rollback of the rights of women and girls, censorship of and attacks against the media, and reprisals against human rights defenders including women’s rights activists, women in high- profile roles, journalists, religious minorities, LGBTI people and members and allies of the former government. People in Afghanistan are also facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis which is being driven by decisions and positions taken by the international community, especially the US, that have blocked Afghanistan from aid funding and access to the global financial system. 

“There has never been a greater need for human rights organisations across the world to unite and demand accountability and justice for the people of Afghanistan. People in Afghanistan are caught between the Taliban abuses and a humanitarian disaster, and the international community can and should do more to protect them”, said Samira Hamidi, Regional Campaigner, Amnesty International.

The members of the alliance aim to work jointly to seek accountability for all human rights violations and abuses in Afghanistan. The purpose of the alliance is to collectively advocate and put pressure on the Taliban to respect human rights, and on the international community to make good on their commitments to hold the Taliban accountable and to not abandon the Afghan people.

“As the world’s focus is rapidly shifting from one crisis to another, the human catastrophe continues in Afghanistan. People in Afghanistan, especially women and girls, are once again deprived of their fundamental human rights. It is urgently important to keep the world informed about the violations committed daily in Afghanistan and to hold the international community to account for the commitments they have made to Afghanistan over the last 20 years,” said Juliette Rousselot, Program Officer for West and South Asia, FIDH.

Through this alliance, the member organisations will collaborate on joint advocacy, research, awareness raising, and mobilisation, as well as on documentation and reporting of human rights violations and abuses in Afghanistan. The alliance will also engage with the international bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council, UN experts such as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, and other actors to push for systematic and intensive monitoring of the human rights situation, accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses, and to seek an end to impunity.

“With the establishment of the Alliance for Human Rights in Afghanistan, we send a strong message of solidarity to people in Afghanistan. We also wish to convey to the Taliban and the international community that as international civil society organisations we will be closely monitoring the situation and will continue our efforts to advocate for a violence-free Afghanistan for all Afghans” said Gerald Staberock, OMCT Secretary General.