Afghan human rights defenders are among the bravest in the world. They have faced threats, intimidation, harassment, violence, and even death for standing up for the rights of others. They have come under attack from different sides in the conflict, both state and non-state actors. When they have turned to the authorities for protection, they have been rebuffed. The attacks against them have not been effectively investigated, and suspected perpetrators have not been brought to justice.
The situation for Afghan human rights defenders has sadly deteriorated even further over the past years. In June 2020, Fatima Khalil and Ahmad Jawed, working for Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) were killed when an improvised explosive device attached to their car exploded. Earlier in April, Ibrahim Erbat from Zabul province, was shot dead while a colleague of his was threatened. In the same month, Wida Saghary received a death threat. In March, eight human rights defenders were sent death threats. In November 2019, Musa Mahmudi and Ehsanullah Hamidi, were abducted by the National Directorate for Security, Afghanistan’s top intelligence agency, after they revealed more than 100 instances of the sexual abuse suffered by boys in Logar province. In September 2019, Abdul Samad Amiri, a provincial AIHRC official, was abducted and killed.
Amnesty International, in close collaboration with 32 human rights organizations, presented the “Afghanistan Human Rights Defenders Protection Strategy” on January 2020 with the presence of Second Vice President, Sarwar Danish. Intended as a roadmap for the government to adopt an independent, effective and implementable protection mechanism for protection of HRDs in the country, the establishment of this mechanism can respond to the immediate protection, investigation, referral, relocation and psychosocial support to human rights defenders in Afghanistan.
Ask the President of Afghanistan to establish an independent and effective “protection mechanism” for human rights defenders – one that responds to human rights defenders at risk, promptly, thoroughly, impartially, transparently and effectively investigates the threats and attacks against them, and, where necessary, relocates them and offers them relief and psychosocial support.
Sign the petition now. Ask H.E. President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani to:
1. Immediately establish the HRD Protection Joint Commission as proposed in Afghanistan Human Rights Defenders Protection Strategy;
2. Establish special measures as outlined in the Afghanistan human rights defenders protection strategy to provide protection support to human rights defenders facing threats, intimidation and violence;
3. With support of international community, secure and allocate specific funds for human rights defenders’ protection through establishment of a basket fund.