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APF calls for increased protection of Afghanistan’s NHRI

Graphic: AIHRC logo

The APF was among a number of groups to address the Human Rights Council after two staff members of the AIHRC were killed in a targeted attack.

The APF has called for greater protection for Commissioners and staff of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in a video statement to the Human Rights Council.

On behalf of the all 25 member institutions, APF Chairperson Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher said she was appalled by the deliberate killing of two AIHRC staff members in Kabul.

The APF's statement was presented to the 44th Session of the Human Rights Council on 2 July 2020.

A text version of the statement is available in English and Arabic.

"Together with GANHRI and its members from across all regions, we stand with the Afghanistan Commission in calling on the Government of Afghanistan to conduct a thorough investigation into the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice," Professor Croucher said.

She told the Council that a total of seven AIHRC Commissioners and staff members have now been killed.

"In the context of armed conflict, targeting and killing human rights defenders is a war crime," Professor Croucher said

"We call on the Government of Afghanistan to strengthen protection to Commissioners and staff of its national human rights institution, as well as other human rights defenders in the country."

The APF's call for increased protection was reinforced in a statement to the Council by the International Service for Human Rights.

In addition, Australia, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom made a joint statement in support of the AIHRC.

"We call on all states and parties to commit to protecting human rights workers and advocates everywhere, ensuring an environment for National Human Rights Institutions and Human Rights Defenders conducive to their activities, freely and without interference, intimidation, abuse, threat, violence, retaliation or undue restriction," the statement said.

The statement also noted that "[m]easures to protect survivors and witnesses from retaliation is also critical".

In New York, members of the UN Security Council stressed that any attack targeting civilians, hospitals, medical and humanitarian personnel and facilities is unacceptable and that the perpetrators must be held accountable and reiterated that all parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.

They strongly condemned the killing of two AIHRC employees and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

Date: 3 July 2020

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  1. AIHRC logo - AIHRC