Tuesday, March 18, 2008

UN presses for end to impunity

When polled for their opinions, Afghans in post-Taliban times have repeatedly shown a desire to see human rights abusers from the past brought to trial for their crimes. The Karzai government, set up under Western tutelage, has failed to address the issue. Now the UN is pressing for action:

Afghan govt must bring rights abusers to justice-UN
By Jonathon Burch

KABUL, March 18 (Reuters) - The Afghan government needs to take more action to bring human rights abusers to justice and end the culture of impunity that undermines faith in the state, the United Nations said on Tuesday

Six years ago, the United States relied on air power, special forces and a loose alliance of Afghan warlords to topple the Taliban government after the hardline Islamist movement refused to give up al Qaeda leaders behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

Many of the warlords are accused of serious rights abuses during Afghanistan's three decades of war. They now dominate the parliament and some hold key positions within the state, but little has been done to bring them to book.

"You have heard of the phrase 'action speaks louder than words'. Here in Afghanistan the lack of action speaks volumes," Norah Niland, the UN's Chief Human Rights Officer in Afghanistan told a news conference.

"I think there is a lack of political will both within Afghanistan and without," she said.

Afghan forces and more than 50,000 foreign troops are now struggling to contain a resurgent Taliban campaign of guerrilla war, backed by suicide and roadside bomb attacks. Some 6,000 people were killed last year, the most violent since 2001.

Many Afghans are growing weary of the presence of foreign troops, official corruption and the ongoing lack of security. ... (link)

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