Statement of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan on the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) Report

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) congratulates the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on the publication yesterday of its report: “A call for Justice”, with the presence of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The AIHRC was mandated to gather the views of the people of Afghanistan on a topic which, in all countries emerging from a long conflict, is both sensitive and unavoidable, namely that of past abuses and how they should be addressed by government and society alike. The Commission has fulfilled its mandate comprehensively and thoroughly through widespread consultations across Afghanistan and the refugee communities in Iran and Pakistan. Through the publication it this report, it brings back to the people what we believe to be a fair reflection of their aspirations, their concerns and their hopes.

The clamor for justice and change that transpires through these pages does not surprise us. For three years, UNAMA has been a close witness to these sentiments, which are pervasive throughout the country. They are consonant with the enthusiastic participation in the presidential election last year, the massive popular support for disarmament and reintegration, and the urgent plea for an end to corruption and violence.

We cannot therefore but support the need for the government and the international community to take into account the recommendations of the Commission as part of this year’s priorities and the longer-term vision of a country where justice, security and national unity prevail.

The report contains many of the ingredients of such a vision, including the need to rid the state –at all levels – from involvement in abuses and corruption; the need to ascertain, dispassionately and impartially, the truth about the suffering of the past thirty years; the need to honor and compensate the victims; and to prosecute those guilty of the most egregious crimes.

We agree with the report that improving the process of appointment of government officials, as a priority, is both necessary and possible, and is required in order to strengthen popular confidence in the new government, the new constitution and the new institutions of the state. The communities are eagerly awaiting it; the government is committed to it; the international community should support it, in particular as part of its assistance to the reform of the army, the police, the justice system and the fight against narcotics.

UNAMA, for its part, is ready to work with the Government, the AIHRC and other partners to make what can become an important contribution to the consolidation of a just and trusted state in Afghanistan.