Amnesty International in a statement on Tuesday, called on the Government of Afghanistan to appoint commissioners of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) without any further delays and independent of any political considerations.
“The appointment of commissioners must be in line with international standards laid out in the Paris Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (The Paris Principles), adopted by General Assembly resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993”, said the statement.
The AIHRC plays a crucial role in holding government and other actors responsible in relation to human rights violations in Afghanistan. Ensuring its continuity and independence is critical, and the AIHRC’s mandate must be renewed in light of efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, Amnesty International’s statement pointed out.
Since its establishment, the AIHRC`s has played a vital role in promotion and protection of human rights in Afghanistan. Notably, it has been continually monitoring and reporting on human rights violations in Afghanistan such as violence against women, children, and detainees.
However it was highlighted that at present, out of nine commissioners, the AIHRC operates with few commissioners whose terms in office expired a year ago, June 2018.
The Presidential Order 905 of 9 July 2018 laid out a two-stage procedure for the appointment of commissioners. The first stage provided the opportunity for civil society organizations in Afghanistan to submit a shortlist of nominees to the AIHRC. In accordance with the second stage, the selection committee submitted a final list of 27 candidates to the Office of the President.
Despite implementation of the Presidential Order 905, the President issued Order 2727 of 20 February 2019, which called for a new list of candidates to be prepared.
The procedures for nominations in the new order were unclear, and the transparency of the appointment process was at risk of being undermined by this second Presidential Order. Amnesty International raised its concerns with the government immediately through letter to President.
Finally, Amnesty International urged that the AIHRC must remain independent and have competent and well-qualified commissioners to be able to carry out its functions properly.