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Afghanistan needs financial support to prevent rights abuses: UN expert

Afghanistan needs financial support to prevent rights abuses: UN expert

Special Rapporteur Kamal Hossain
A United Nations human rights expert today made an urgent plea for international contributions to Afghanistan, arguing that without sufficient external support, the country will be unable to prevent abuses and secure civil liberties.

Establishing the rule of law in Afghanistan is a "formidable challenge because the country's capacity to be able to gather the guns, to be able to silence the guns, to neutralize them and to replace them with forces that can secure the lives and security of persons, secure women's rights against assaults and abuse, and the positive rights - access to education and health - all of these require that the capacity of the nascent institutions be built and strengthened," said Kamal Hossain, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan.

International funding must be provided to achieve these goals, he told a press briefing in New York. "If you are to…support the programme for change from a devastated economy, from a society in which people have been deprived of their rights, security of persons, security of life, women's rights - if you are to restore those rights, there have to be resources made available."

He welcomed the fact that women - banned from working under the Taliban - are now back on the job, but voiced concern that teacher's salaries have not been paid in six months. This "underlines the magnitude of the problem of restoring rights," he said, noting that there were attacks on girls' schools throughout the country, while some elements were distributing leaflets opposing education for young women.

The local communities had responded by seeking to rebuild the educational facilities, demonstrating that "the urge for girls to go to school is there and is widely shared, and resources should therefore be made available to make those opportunities available," Mr. Hossain said.

Noting that there were many deserving causes across the globe seeking resources, he said, "I do like to make an earnest plea for Afghanistan because of the long period of deprivation and the devastation they have suffered."