Amnesty International said on Wednesday that victims of the conflict in Afghanistan should have a voice during the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The global human rights organisation said that the victims’ demands for justice must be heeded during the negotiations which are set to begin in Doha, Qatar.
Amnesty called on both negotiating teams and the Qatari hosts to include the voices of victims and ensure the meaningful participation of women in the talks, to ensure that their rights are respected in any deal which emerges.
“No one desires peace more than ordinary Afghans who have suffered so much, for so long because of the conflict,” said David Griffiths, Director of the Office of the Secretary General of Amnesty.
“But for any peace talks to be worthy of their name, they must commit to delivering justice for victims and ensuring accountability for serious human rights violations. The participation of victims in these talks is a critical safeguard to ensure that their voices are not ignored,”
He stressed that peace must allow victims to access justice with perpetrators held accountable.
The peace talks must also preserve and strengthen the gains made by Afghanistan in the past two decades, the organisation stressed.
Pointing out that the Taliban have failed to make explicit and credible commitments to the human rights enshrined in Afghanistan’s constitution and international human rights law, the organisation urged the Afghan authorities to step up and meet their obligations.
“There is no getting away from the fact that the Afghan authorities have failed to meet their own commitments to human rights, but there is also no denying that important strides have been made over the past two decades,” Griffiths said.
Amnesty called on the negotiating teams and parties to the conflict – particularly the Afghan government – to ensure that the advances made on human rights, rights of women and girls, children, religious and ethnic minorities, journalists, and human rights defenders are upheld.