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Statement on and Advance Questions to Afghanistan

Last updated: 28.01.2014 // UPR of Afghanistan January 27th. Statement and advance questions submitted by Norway

Statement :

Norway would like to thank Afghanistan’s delegation for the presentation of their National Report.

Norway notes that Afghanistan has started the important work to review its legislation in light of international human rights law. There are, however, still a number of discrepancies that need to be addressed. Norway recommends that Afghanistan further strengthens its efforts to review its legislative framework and makes necessary adjustments to it in order to ensure that it is in conformity with Afghanistan’s international human rights obligations.

Norway commends Afghanistan on its effort over the last decade to improve the situation of women. However, we are concerned about the number of women who are victims of violence and the authorities’ failure to investigate properly all such cases and to bring the responsible to justice within the formal justice system. Norway recommends that Afghanistan adopts measures in order to strengthen the knowledge of the EVAW-law within the police and the judiciary in order to guarantee effective implementation of the law.

Norway finds that the criminalizing of sexual practices between consenting adults of the same sex is in breach with international legal guarantees of privacy and non-discrimination. Arrests on this basis also breach the guarantee against arbitrary detention. Norway recommends that Afghanistan ensures non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and repeals the provisions of the penal code which criminalise sexual relation between consenting adults of the same sex.

Advance questions:

1. The culture of impunity is one of the key challenges that would have to be addressed in an efficient way in order for Afghanistan to ensure that human rights are secured in practice. What steps is Afghanistan taking in order to strengthen the rule of law and end impunity in Afghanistan and what results have these efforts yielded?

2. Norway is concerned about the fact that child labour is still common and many children are victims of violence and abuse, including sexual abuse and the practice of bacha bazi. Furthermore, underage marriage, especially of girls, is common. What steps is Afghanistan taking to ensure that all cases of trafficking, child labour, sexual exploitation and other abuses of children are investigated and the responsible brought to trial, and have these efforts yielded positive results?

3. Human rights defenders in Afghanistan continue to face threats and attacks. Women human rights defenders are in a particularly vulnerable situation as they often are more at risk of suffering certain forms of violence and other violations, prejudice, exclusion, and repudiation than their male colleagues. What is Afghanistan doing to protect women human rights defenders and what will be done in order to implement the new UN resolution on protecting women human rights defenders?

4.   During its first UPR Afghanistan accepted Norway’s recommendation to include civil society and human rights defenders in the development of legislation and decision making processes, through an institutionalized consultation process. To what extent and in what policy areas have such consultation processes been part of the decision making process?

5. The Afghan constitution guarantees freedom of expression, but the situation for journalists remains challenging. Journalists regularly report about threats and attacks, both from non-state and state actors. One consequence of this is extensive use of self-censorship. Norway is concerned that the working conditions for journalists are becoming more difficult as elections are approaching. What is Afghanistan doing to guarantee the safety of journalists in the run up to the elections and beyond?


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