New report finds political intimidation in parts of Afghanistan – UN

18 July 2004

The level of political freedom Afghans are able to exercise varies widely across their country, with some areas marred by intimidation, the just-released findings of a study by the United Nations and the Government say.

The first report of the Joint Verification of Political Rights by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reveals greater respect for rights in the capital, Kabul, and in the East.

But in parts of the South, violence by extremists is hindering popular participation in the electoral process, while in the West, registered political parties complain that local authorities are curtailing their freedom of expression and operation, a UN spokesman said today.

“The report observes that there is a high level of self-censorship among groups, parties and individuals who do not share the beliefs of the factions in power in different regions,” Manoel de Almeida e Silva told the press in Kabul. “This self-imposed restraint is strengthened by the behaviour of local representatives of the central Government who tend to consider any political activity as subversive.”

 

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