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Ghani, Obama asked to sideline strongmen, address women’s rights

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: President Ashraf Ghani and the United States President Barack Obama should make human rights issues a key agenda item during meetings on Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the other day.

According to a statement by HRW, both the US and Afghan governments have a legacy of human rights violations to address, from abusive militias in Afghanistan to the mistreatment of detainees at Bagram and Guantanamo.
“For more than 13 years, the US and Afghan governments have attempted to achieve security at the expense of human rights, and the effort has failed,” said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director. “The evidence is in: arming powerful strongmen at the cost of good governance and the rule of law doesn’t work.”
Ghani has signaled a readiness to reform judiciary system and rein in abusive security forces whose targets have included journalists and human rights activists. The US needs to support this effort by tailoring aid commitments to motivate Afghan security bureaucracies to hold perpetrators accountable. The US should tie security assistance to demonstrated improvements in security forces’ accountability, and explore other options for encouraging Afghanistan to improve its human rights record.
Human Rights Watch also called on Ghani to press Obama on closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and reopening investigations into torture and other ill-treatment of detainees by the CIA and US military personnel during the Bush administration, including in Afghanistan, abuses which were extensively documented by Human Rights Watch. Impunity for those abuses has damaged US credibility on human rights and served as a motivational force for insurgent and terrorist groups worldwide.
“US personnel tortured and killed detainees in Afghanistan,” Sifton said. “Ghani should use his meeting with Obama to ask him to order or reopen criminal investigations.”
“Ghani and Obama should publicly commit to making human rights and accountability priorities in their new joint security strategy,” Sifton said. “It’s time to reject the temptation of expediency over respect for human rights.”

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