Country Profile: Afghanistan

Introduction

Afghanistan has never been a member of the Human Rights Council but has sponsored and co-sponsored thematic and country-specific resolutions, and participated in the Universal Periodic Review.

Thematic Issues

Afghanistan has sponsored and co-sponsored resolutions on climate change, protection of the family, technical cooperation and capacity-building, corruption, education, sport, the right to development, religion and human rights and traditional values.

Freedom of Assembly and of Association

Afghanistan has not actively engaged on resolutions on freedom of assembly and of association.

Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Afghanistan has not been active in discussions on freedom of opinion and expression.

Human Rights Defenders

Afghanistan has not actively engaged on resolutions on human rights defenders.

Country Specific Issues

Majority of resolutions that Afghanistan has engaged with have been country specific. Afghanistan has sponsored 48 and co-sponsored 9 country specific resolutions at the Council. 46 of the resolutions sponsored have been on the Middle East, specifically Palestine, the Syria Golan and Lebanon. The fact that a major focus has been placed on sponsoring and co-sponsoring progressive resolutions on Palestine, the Syrian Golan and Lebanon shows that Afghanistan maintains solidarity with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Universal Periodic Review

During the 2nd cycle of the UPR, Afghanistan was reviewed on the 27th of January 2014. Afghanistan accepted 189 recommendations of 224 and noted 35.

Recommendations received focused broadly upon the same categories as during its first cycle. However, states made fewer recommendations with regard to freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of the press. This is due in part to the fact that the new media law was enacted shortly after the first UPR. The law was passed by parliament after extensive discussions with journalists and human rights groups. States made more recommendations on the independent human rights commission, calling for more funds to be allocated, allowing the commission to function in a more independent manner.

As a recommending state, Afghanistan made recommendations broadly focused on the following issues: rights of the child, women’s rights, education, national human rights commission and justice. The country has chosen to focus on issues that are applicable domestically and has not shied away from actively engaging with those issues at the UPR, even though such an approach may leave it open to scrutiny of its own human rights record. Recommendations on civil society, human rights defenders, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association and assembly are however noticeably lacking.