APF pays tribute to Dr Sima Samar
Graphic: Dr Sima Samar, AIHRC Chairperson
The outgoing Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission never hesitated to stand for human rights, justice and the rule of law
Human rights awareness and protection in Afghanistan are stronger today because of the tireless advocacy of Dr Sima Samar, outgoing Chairperson of the country's national human rights institution.
"Despite the very real threat of danger, Dr Samar never hesitated in standing strongly for fundamental human rights, justice and the rule of law," APF secretariat Director Kieren Fitzpatrick said.
"She is a powerful voice for human rights because she speaks with honesty and credibility," he said.
Dr Samar was appointed as Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission when it was established in 2002.
During her tenure, the Commission resolved to advocate on the most serious and systemic human rights issues in the country: preventing torture, addressing impunity, tackling corruption, promoting freedom of expression and protecting the rights of women and girls.
There have been a lot of attacks against me and continue to be [but] a difficult job is more interesting to me, to break some taboos and prepare the ground for others.
In 2014, the Commission conducted a ground breaking national inquiry on rape and 'honour killings'.
"Across the country and in the media, people started talking about an issue where previously there was silence" said APF Gender Focal Point Pip Dargan.
"In addition to raising community awareness and starting a national discussion, Dr Sima's leadership of the inquiry helped generate significant changes in law and policy to better protect the rights of women and girls."
More recently, the Commission has held consultations across Afghanistan to ensure that women's voices are heard in the high-level discussions aimed at securing peace.
Graphic: Dr Sima Samar welcomes the incoming AIHRC leadership team
Dr Samar also served as APF Chairperson and strongly supported the APF's advocacy work in regional and international forums.
Ms Dargan praised Dr Samar for her efforts to promote the independent participation of NHRIs at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
"Dr Samar has a deep appreciation for the unique contribution that NHRIs can bring to discussion of human rights at the UN and other global forums," Ms Dargan said.
"She was unfailingly generous in sharing her insights and experiences with governments, UN agencies, civil society groups and others during our advocacy campaign in New York."
Dr Samar will now serve as President Ashraf Ghani's Special Envoy and State Minister for Human Rights Affairs and International Relations.
Ms Shaharzad Akbar, human rights activist and advisor to the National Security Council, has been appointed as the new Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
On her Twitter account, Ms Akbar said the Commission was one of the country's most important institutions.
Leading the Commission "is a huge honour and responsibility that I hope to be worthy of," she added.
Mr Fitzpatrick said he looked forward to continuing the APF's close relationship with the Commission and supporting Ms Akbar and the newly appointed leadership team in their important work.
Date: 22 July 2019
- Dr Sima Samar, AIHRC Chairperson - APF
- Dr Sima Samar welcomes the incoming AIHRC leadership team - Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission