Transcript of impromptu remarks by the SRSG, Lakhdar Brahimi, at the inauguration of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission first satellite officein Herat

Your Excellencies, Ministers, Emir,Governor,Wali Sahib, Ambassador Nash, other diplomats and visitors, participants to this ceremony.

Wearer very, very grateful to Dr. Siam Samar for organizing this ceremony and for giving us the pleasure of taking part in it. I would like to congratulate Dr. Siam Samar and her colleagues in the [Afghan Independent Human Rights] Commission as well as the members of the new branch of Herat on the work they have done to make this day possible.


The Commission in Kabul has already done a lot of very good work as Dr.Sima Samar has just told us and we wish her and her colleagues in Kabul and also her new colleagues in Herat much success in the work that is awaiting them in future.


I think it is normal that the first chapter of the Human Rights Commission outside Kabul is open in the city of Herat. It is a city of history, it is a city of culture but it is also a city of struggle and a city of Jihad. Just a few days ago this city celebrated the anniversary of very, very important day in the history of Herat, in the history of Afghanistan and I think in the history of mankind. They celebrated the sacrifice of 25,000 people who rose and died in the resistance against the Soviet Union occupation.


Those people did not die to acquire power or wealth. They died so that the people of their city, the people of their country [could] stand up indignity and freedom. They died because they believed that human beings, whether they were men or women, whether they were old or young, whether they were rich or poor had the right to dignity, to freedom, to equality and to justice.


In the city of Jihad, of people who have participated in the Jihad, and chief among them a legendary figure of the struggle for freedom in this country, Ismail Khan, these people know that they have moved from what we always speak about with Emir Ismail Khan – moving from the Jihad AL Asher (Little Jihad) to the Jihad Al Akbar (Big Jihad).


The Jihad Al Akbar requires precisely that we remember the sacrifice of all those people who were with us in the Jihad and are not here anymore, and the values for which they have made this sacrifice. These are the values of freedom, justice, equality – I don’t think that human rights is anything else than these values. So I think that the struggle for human rights in Afghanistan is very, very much part of the Jihad AL Akbar that we need to continue if we want to honor the sacrifices made by the preceding generation.


Swale Sahib (Ismail Khan) the people who are going to work in this branch of the national commission for human rights are your brothers in Jihad. They are going to work with you to protect all the values that I think the people of Afghanistan believe in, as I said, dignity, freedom, independence, justice and equality between all the people of this country. So the members of this branch in Herat, like the national commission in Kabul, like the branches that are going to be opened in the cities mentioned by Siam Samar a while ago are going to join in this fight for human dignity. And they are going to work with the Wail, they are going to work with the Mayor, they are going to work with the judges, they are going to work with the police, they are going to work with the military, they are going to work with the university, they are going to work with the teachers, to make this a reality in this country.


The presence of your friends and your partners from the United Nations, from other organizations and from many, many countries in the world is a manifestation of the support that the rest of the world is willing to continue to provide to the people of Afghanistan as they rebuild their country.


In the field of human rights, as in every other field, you know very, very well that our central principle that we do not compromise on is that this is Afghanistan, a country that belongs to the people of Afghanistan and that it is the people of Afghanistan who are in the lead; we are following, we are supporting, we are helping, we have no other agenda.


Sconce again Dr. Siam Samar and members of the branch of the Human Rights Commission in Herat, congratulations and much success in the work that is awaiting you in the future. Thank you very much. Salaam Allium.