UN Rapporteur for Afghan human rights meets Islamic Emirate

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The UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan’s Human Rights, Richard Bennett, met with senior officials of the Islamic Emirate in Kabul.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Abdul Qahar Balkhi, said that Bennett met with acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Balkhi on Twitter quoted Bennett as saying that in order to express and report the situation factually, he (Bennett) must see everything with his own eyes and so he traveled to Afghanistan.

“Regarding the human rights situation, Muttaqi said that the warlords, kidnappers and land grabbers cannot suppress the rights of anyone,” said Billa Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate.

The office of the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister said on Twitter that Mullah Abdul Salam discussed with Bennett issues including providing security to ethnic minorities, education, and the rights of women and the media.

Political analysts gave various opinions regarding Bennett’s meetings with Islamic Emirate officials.

“The visit of the UN special rapporteur to Kabul shows that the UN and the international community are concerned by the human rights situation in Afghanistan and concerns are rising in this regard,” said Wahid Faqiri, an international relations analyst.

“The rights of humans, which is a general issue, is important to discussed and it is also effective,” said Mohammad Khalid Musaleh, a political analyst.

Earlier, the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate for Bennett to serve as UN special rapporteur.

Meanwhile, Lyons highlighted urgent issues related to peace, human rights, and the humanitarian situation, as well as other pressing issues, stating that a humanitarian ceasefire was crucial to ensure that relief efforts can be conducted.

“I want to emphasize again the importance of the humanitarian ceasefire. This is a win-win for both parties to the peace talks and it is clearly a win for the Afghan people. We all need to be raising our voices to focus on the need for a humanitarian ceasefire,” said Lyons. She explained that a humanitarian ceasefire is not permanent but intended to allow civilian populations caught in the fighting to receive care.

She reiterated that holding the intra-Afghan negotiations is imperative.

“As I speak, Afghans representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are preparing to sit with other Afghans representing the Taliban to discuss, at long last, a political settlement to the conflict. This is truly a historic moment,” said Lyons. “The coming days will hopefully bring the formal launch of intra-Afghan negotiations.”

She stated that solutions will not be found on the battlefield and Afghans need to talk to each other. She said the level of violence on the battlefield remains deeply worrying.

On peace spoilers, she said: “The last few weeks have seen near-record numbers of security incidents, including egregious attacks by spoilers targeting civilians involved in the peace process.”

The UN envoy added that the conflict continues to kill and injure hundreds of Afghans every week.

Despite significant progress in the last two decades, Afghanistan remains one of the worst places in the world to be a woman, and one of the worst to be a child,” said Lyons.

On women’s inclusion in the peace process, Lyons said: “We have spoken as well, a great deal, in this forum about the necessity of including women in the process.”

“Women’s rights are already emerging as one of the most difficult issues confronting the conflict parties as they enter negotiations, and one where any compromises could pose, will pose, a difficult dilemma for member states,” Lyons added.

The UN envoy commended the work of Afghan media for peace.

On the role of regional nations on peace in Afghanistan, she said: “Peace will only truly take hold if it delivers material benefits for the Afghan people. This, too, will require substantial preparation by all parties: by the Government of Afghanistan; by regional countries; and by the international community.”

She said a stable Afghanistan will bring about a more prosperous neighborhood.

Meanwhile, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft said that recent waves of violence were posing serious threats to peace and they need to be stopped.

“The United States condemns all acts of terrorism,” said Kelly Craft, referring to recent attacks on a number of scholars in Kabul city.

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