UN rights session hears Afghan conflict still one of the world’s deadliest
Mahamane Cissé-Gouro, Officer-in-Charge of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Monday that while Afghanistan should have moved closer towards peace, civilians continued to suffer and lose their lives due to increased violence.
Delivering the high commissioner’s report to the UN Human Rights Commission’s 46th session on Monday, Cissé-Gouro noted the conflict in Afghanistan remained among the deadliest in the world.
He stated the best way to protect civilians was to stop fighting.
According to the report the deliberate killing of human rights defenders and journalists had been particularly shocking in the last few months and since the start of the Afghanistan peace negotiations.
Civil society and media had an important role to play, the Afghan people needed their voices and opinions, and the government needed to provide them with space to operate, while anti-government forces must stop targeting them, the report stated.
Speakers expressed concern that since the start of the Afghan peace negotiations, civilians continued to bear the brunt of the armed conflict, with almost half of the casualties being women and children.
Cissé-Gouro also stated Afghanistan was at a critical point which was particularly crucial for Afghan women. He said their meaningful participation in the peace process must be ensured.
In addition, it was noted that the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) played a crucial role despite their staff being directly targeted.
In turn, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) Chairperson Shaharzad Akbar’s said in a video message to the session that for the peace process to be seen as credible by all Afghans, there needs to be a ceasefire, a real possibility of public engagement, and protection of the civic space.
In her message Akbar said according to AIHRC figures, targeted killings were the second leading cause of civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2020. This she said was a “threefold increase compared to 2019.”
These attacks targeted human rights defenders, journalists, media workers and activists, prosecutors and judges, including female journalists, judges and activists.
“Prominent activists are either being killed or forced to leave the country. Most attacks remain unclaimed and investigations are slow.
“While those who can, are leaving the country, many across Afghanistan felt silenced by fear and are constrained in their activism. This unimaginable attack on Afghanistan’s civic space is ongoing and the world is not doing enough to stop it.
“Meanwhile the Afghan negotiations in Doha are paused,” she said.
“Afghans are desperate for peace but what will peace look like in absence of one of Afghanistan’s most important gains, its vibrant civil society and human rights community? If this deadly trend continues, it will be even harder to protect human rights gains of Afghanistan during and after the peace talks.
“We need the United Nations and the global human rights community to stand with Afghans and urge both parties to stop the violence, and continue engaging in talks.
“For the peace process to be seen as credible by all Afghans, we need a ceasefire, a real possibility of public engagement and protection of the civic space,” she said.
Cissé-Gouro stated in his report that the Afghanistan peace negotiations were an historic opportunity for parties to the conflict to consider the irreversible loss the war had had on the people. New thinking could save thousands of families from suffering.
The report meanwhile stated that Afghanistan, speaking as a country concerned, noted that the conflict in Afghanistan continued to take a heavy toll on the nation and undermined social and economic progress.
The COVID-19 pandemic had also further aggravated these challenges.
IEA special forces kill key Daesh commander in eastern Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate’s special forces in an operation on Wednesday killed a top Daesh commander along with his accomplice in eastern Nangarhar province, state-run Bakhtar news agency reported.
This Daesh commander’s name was reportedly “Turab”.
The operation was conducted on Wednesday evening in Wuch Tangi village of Shiwa district in eastern Nangarhar province, according to the provincial officials reported by Bakhtar news agency.
30 Afghan students off to Kazakhstan to continue their studies
The Ministry of Higher Education said on Thursday that 30 Afghan students will soon leave for Kazakhstan where they will continue their studies in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
At a meeting with the students held at the Ministry of Higher Education, Mufti Mohammad Tahir Ahmad, the deputy minister of student affairs, expressed his gratitude to Kazakhstan for awarding scholarships to Afghans and emphasized the need to strengthen relations with the countries in the scientific and academic sectors.
Ahmad said the students were ambassadors of their country and stated that: “Besides preserving your religious and national values, you must also respect the laws and culture of the host country. Pay more attention to your learning and knowledge.”
He added that: “The eyes of hope of the people and the system are fixed on you, so that after acquiring science and knowledge, you will play your part in the development of your country.”
Dr. Nazar Mohammad Irfan, the head of foreign relations and scholarship regulation of the Ministry of Higher Education, also addressed the students and said Kazakhstan was among the countries that stood by the people of Afghanistan in difficult times and continued their cooperation in various sectors, especially higher education.
He also asked the students to make the most of this opportunity and build their country with their own hands.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat, the academic vice president of Kabul University, spoke about the value of science and knowledge and the objectives of the Ministry of Higher Education in the area of education and training of young staff from the perspective of the holy religion of Islam and religious beliefs, and asked the students to make the basis and focus of all their activities on “Islamic belief”.
According to the ministry, 256 people took part in a scholarship selection exam, and 30 students were chosen. They will pursue bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the fields of economics, computer science, law, physics, biology and chemistry.
Army corps commander visits Nimroz border checkpoints
The Ministry of National Defense of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) says that Alhaji Mullah Sharafuddin Taqi, the commander of the 215 Azam Army Corps, traveled to Nimroz province on Wednesday, at the head of a delegation and visited the 3rd and 5th border checkpoints located on the border with Iran.
The defense ministry said in a statement that the commander met with Nimroz officials, including the provincial police chief, and discussed the need to improve coordination between the forces and border protection.
Referring to the recent cross-border skirmish with Iran, the commander of the 215 Azam Army Corps said: “The Islamic Emirate considers border protection its responsibility and is committed to establishing diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.”
However, he called the forces the defenders of borders, territorial integrity and independence of the country and promised to cooperate in solving their problems.
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