Poor human rights record in Afghanistan in 2008: commission chairman
Afghanistan, Kabul, Jan. 12/ Trend , A. Hakimi/
Afghanistan had a poor human rights record in 2008, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan Sima Semer said.
"The complaints received we received last year show frequent human rights abuses in Afghanistan," Semer told Trend on Jan. 12. The lack of rule of law, a prolonged war, instability and illiteracy pave the way for such abuses, he added.
"Human rights violations are natural in a country where laws are not executed," Semer said.
"The instability in the country has led to state organs ceasing operation in certain regions," he added. " This leads to human right violations."
Programs educating the public about human rights abuses have led to Afghans appealing to the commission.
"Promoting human rights organizations and mass media efforts to educate the population help uncover and eliminate human rights abuses," Semer said.
Semer added that he is hopeful that the human rights record will improve in 2009.
"I hope the laws will be enforced and state agencies will execute the law in 2009," he said. "If contacts are formed between state agencies and the population, human right violations will decrease."
Semer condemned the deaths of civilians during operations conducted by the peacekeeping forces in 2008 and noted an upswing in civilian deaths during clashes last year.
"We urge forces opposing the Afghan government, NATO and the government to do the utmost to prevent civilian deaths," Semer said.
According to Afghanistan's Human Rights Commission, civilian deaths increased 41 percent in 2008. Operations conducted by peacekeeping forces claimed 1,778 lives; 625 were killed in air attacks.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned civilian deaths. He noted that if the tendency continues, the presence of international forces in the country will be reconsidered.
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