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15 English 3countryentries

15 English 3countryentries



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Published by ernam
Amnesty International 2007 Country Report
Amnesty International 2007 Country Report

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Published by: ernam on May 31, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Head of state and government:
Hamid Karzai
Death penalty:
International Criminal Court:
 The government and its international partners wereunable to ensure security and a climate of politicaluncertainty grew in the course of the year. Armedconflict, marked by aerial bombardments and suicidebombings, escalated in southern parts of the country. At least 1,000 civilians were killed. Poor governance,the power of regional commanders and the impact of narcotics undermined the rule of law and humanrights. Government security bodies committed humanrights violations with impunity. There was little reformof judicial, law enforcement and security agencies.Women continued to face violence. Human rightsdefenders, including women, were targeted and killed.It became increasingly dangerous to speak out against human rights abuses and for justice.
In February, the Afghanistan Compact was adoptedoutlining reforms and priorities for the next five years.Through the Compact, the Afghan government and itsinternational partners agreed new financial andinstitutional support and oversight mechanisms. Keyareas of the Afghanistan Compact are security,governance, rule of law and human rights, as well aseconomic and social development.Lack of good governance and the rule of lawcontributed to the climate of impunity.Governmentofficials and local power-holders were not heldaccountable for their actions and there was little or noaccess to justice.Escalating conflict caused widespread social unrest.Violations of international humanitarian and humanrights law were committed with impunity by all partiesto the conflict, including international and Afghansecurity forces and the Taleban.Human rights defenders, many of them women,faced harassment, intimidation and in at least one casemurder, as they sought to protect human rights. Itbecame more dangerous to speak out. Schools wereburned down and teachers were attacked and killed bythose opposed to the government and the education of girls.Conflict, drought and floods in different parts of thecountry caused forced displacement throughout theyear, while neighbouring Iran and Pakistan sought toreduce the number of Afghan asylum-seekers. Thenumber of Afghans returning from these countriesdecreased.
The conflict in the south and east grew in intensity andhad a detrimental effect on governance in other partsof the country. Thousands of Afghans were forced toflee their homes because of conflict and drought.The NATO-led International Security AssistanceForce (ISAF) widened its area of operation to the southof Afghanistan, focusing on stabilization and security.The US-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)continued to carry out operations purportedly tocounter terrorism.Human rights bodies and the UN expressed graveconcern at the conduct of Afghan and internationalforces. The UN in Afghanistan routinely condemned thekilling of civilians by the Taleban and repeatedly calledon the Afghan and US authorities to ensure the safety of civilians while battling the insurgents.US forces continued to deny detainees at Bagramsome of their basic rights. Although there appeared to befewer allegations of gross abuses, lack of informationabout detainees and denial of access to families werecontinuing concerns. ISAF handed detainees into thecustody of Afghan authorities; there was insufficientmonitoring of how these detainees were subsequentlytreated. Aerial bombardments during OEF and ISAFoperations were, on occasion, disproportionate.In July the UN Secretary-General’s SpecialRepresentative to Afghanistan expressed concernabout the deteriorating security situation in the southand called for more development work as well asfurther military and diplomatic intervention to curb thegrowing violence.
During a joint military operation on 21 and 22 Mayby the government and OEF forces in Panjwayi,Kandahar,16 civilians, including children and theelderly,were reportedly killed in Azizi village.
Tensions over the presence of international troopswere shown by violent protests after a fatal trafficaccident in Kabul involving a US military vehicle on29 May.In ensuing riots, at least eight people werekilled and 100 injured. Shops were looted and policevehicles, government buildings in the city and officesbelonging to international non-governmentalorganizations (NGOs) were damaged.
In July, areas near to Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan, werebombed by US-led coalition forces, reportedly resultingin the death of at least 60 civilians. According to theAfghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission inKandahar, at least 22 civilians were killed in twoseparate houses in Ghachi Zari. President Karzaiordered an inquiry into the bombing in Uruzgan.
On 24 October, Zangawat village in the Panjwayidistrict was bombed in an ISAF operation in which atleast 70 civilians were reportedly killed, includingchildren.
In late May, more than 3,000 villagers fromPanjwayi and 200 from Zhari Dasht, Kandahar, weredisplaced following fighting between US and Afghanforces and the Taleban. They reportedly fled toKandahar.
Between July and October, it was estimated thatapproximately 15,000 people had been forciblydisplaced by conflict, including hundreds displaced byaerial bombardments in Kandahar, Uruzgan andHelmand provinces.
 Amnesty International Report 2007
Resurgence of the Taleban
Benefiting from a climate of lawlessness, notably inthe south, the Taleban enjoyed a significantresurgence. Their forces were responsible forbreaches of international humanitarian law byundertaking indiscriminate and disproportionateacts of violence; by killing those not involved incombat; and by ill-treating and torturing those overwhom they had effective control. For example, in thecontext of quasi-judicial processes, at least 11 peoplewere killed. The true number may have been farhigher.
On 28 August, a suicide blast attributed to theTaleban in a market in Lashkar Gah, Helmand, killed 17people, many of them civilians.
At least 19 individuals, including 13 civilians, werekilled and another 20 injured on 26 September when asuicide bomber attacked a security post near a mosquein Lashkar Gah. Civilians had gathered outside themosque to sign up for the Haj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.
Weak government 
The reach of the central government was restricted.Parallel systems of governance and dispute resolutionprevailed.Insecurity undermined the rule of law and created aclimate of impunity. Governors in some provincesacted independently of central government andviolated human rights with impunity. Despite theappointment of Supreme Court judges and other high-ranking officials, reform and rebuilding of the judicialsector remained sluggish. The Afghan security forces,particularly the police and representatives of theNational Security Directorate (NSD), were accused of illegal detentions and torture and other ill-treatment.The legal status of international forces appeared toput them beyond the reach of Afghan law, and theirfailure to provide effective redress for violationsundermined the rule of law.Corruption and involvement in the drugs trade furtherundermined the delivery of justice by the government.Private jails continued to be administered by regionalcommanders. In November, the Attorney-Generaldeclared a “jihad” (holy war) against corruption.In early March, government officials, backed byinternational forces, brought to a close a prisonuprising in which at least five people died. Detaineesassociated with the Taleban in Pol-e Charkhi prison hadprotested against a new uniform regime and had takencontrol of part of the prison.
In July, the government reportedly announcedplans to re-establish the Department for the Promotionof Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a government bodythat committed numerous human rights violations,notably against women, during the rule of the Taleban.Assurances were given that the department would notbe given the same duties as before.
Detention by international forces
US forces continued to hold around 500 detainees inBagram airbase who were accused of links with theTaleban and al-Qa’ida.
In January, a military court in Bagram found a USmilitary official guilty of mistreating detainees andsentenced him to four months’ detention. He wasfound to have punched detainees in the chest, armsand shoulders at a base in Uruzgan province in July2005.Around 35 Afghans were released from US custodyat Guantánamo Bay and returned to Afghanistan.Refurbishment of Pol-e Charkhi high security prisoncontinued in advance of the expected transfer in 2007of the remaining Afghan detainees at GuantánamoBay.
Rights of women and human rights defenders
The situation for human rights defenders deteriorated.Members of the Afghanistan Independent HumanRights Commission and representatives of nationalhuman rights organizations faced threats.Legal reforms designed to protect women were notimplemented and women continued to be detained forbreaching social mores. There was a rise in cases of “honour” killings of women and self-immolation bywomen.
On 25 September, Safiye Amajan, head of theKandahar regional Department of Women’s Affairs(DoWA) was shot dead by gunmen on a motorcycle.Individuals associated with Hezb-e Eslami werearrested in connection with her death. Other DoWAheads in other provinces also faced threats andintimidation.
 Transitional justice
The government took a few steps to support theTransitional Justice Action Plan, adopted in late 2005.Amechanism for vetting political appointments wasestablished, and in December the President officiallylaunched the action plan. However,efforts failed tobring to justice those accused of human rightsviolations.
Asadullah Sarwari, a former government ministerand former head of the intelligence service, wassentenced to death on 23 February for war crimescommitted between 1978 and 1992, under communistrule. His trial was grossly unfair. For most of his 13 yearsin custody Asadullah Sarwari did not have access to alawyer.
Freedom of expression
Freedom of expression was reasonably well respected,although there were attempts to limit it.The NSD sought to ban open discussion of thesecurity situation and the Speaker of Parliamentproposed limiting parliamentarians’ freedom to speakto the press.
Abdul Rahman was arrested in February andthreatened with the death penalty for converting fromIslam to Christianity more than 15 years previously,while working in Peshawar, Pakistan. In March, underheavy pressure from foreign governments, the courtreturned his case to prosecutors, citing “investigativegaps” and he was released from prison. He fled to Italyand was granted asylum.
 Amnesty International Report 2007
 AI country reports/visits
Afghanistan: UN Security Council mission mustensure international commitment to human rights islong term (AI Index: ASA 11/018/2006)Afghanistan: Open letter to His ExcellencySibghatullah Mojaddedi on the occasion of the15 November 2006 visit to the Meshrano Jirga bymilitary and civil leaders of the InternationalSecurity Assistance Force (ISAF) (AI Index: ASA11/019/2006)Afghanistan: NATO must ensure justice for victims of civilian deaths and torture (AI Index: ASA11/021/2006
Head of state:
Alfred Moisiu
Head of government:
Sali Berisha
Death penalty:
International Criminal Court:
 Violence against women was common and fewperpetratorswerebrought tojustice. Women andchildren weretrafficked for forced prostitution andother forms of exploitation. Detainees frequentlyalleged ill-treatment bypolice officersduring, or inthe hoursfollowing, arrest. Investigations andprosecutions related tosuchallegations wererare,although in some cases police officersweredisciplined. Conditions of detention, especiallypre- trial detention, were harsh.
In September the European Parliament ratified aStabilisation and Association Agreement between theEuropean Union (EU) and Albania, a significant step inthe process of Albania’s accession to the EU. InNovember the Albanian parliament approvedratification of Protocol 13 to the European Conventionon Human Rights, thereby abolishing the death penaltyin all circumstances. Public debates about corruptionand incompetence within the ranks of judges andprosecutors were frequent but highly politicized; publicconfidence in the judiciary remained low. Certainlegislative reforms were delayed because of politicaldisputes related to forthcoming local elections, whichled to the boycott of some parliamentary sessions byopposition deputies.
 Violence against women
Domestic violence was not specifically prohibited in theCriminal Code, although it was generally recognized thatsuch violence, particularly against women and children,was widespread. In its report, issued in November, theOrganization for Security and Co-operation in Europe(OSCE) noted that “domestic violence is under-reported,under-investigated, under-prosecuted and under-sentenced”, and that “the overwhelming majority of perpetrators are granted impunity”. There were signs,however, that official and general public awareness of this issue had increased. In July the Director General of the State Police directed the police to implementrecommendations made by AI in its report on domesticviolence issued in March. He ordered police to respondpromptly to all reports of domestic violence, todocument complaints made by victims and order theirexamination by forensic doctors, and to liaise with localnon-governmental organizations (NGOs) offering legalassistance and shelter to victims of domestic violence.In December parliament adopted a law “On measuresagainst violence in family relations” drafted by a groupof domestic NGOs. This law aimed both to prevent suchviolence and to introduce procedures to give victims of domestic violence effective protection. The law was notdue to come into force until mid-2007.
Between mid-July and the beginning of August, thewife and daughter of NT reported him three times toBerat police because of his alleged violence towardsthem and to three younger children. However, apartfrom briefly detaining NT, the police apparently took noeffective action. On 12 October, he was again detainedby police after his alleged further violence, but escapedfrom the police station the same day.
Despite increased, and to some extent successful,measures to counter trafficking, Albania continued tobe a source country for the trafficking of women, oftenminors, for sexual exploitation. Children, many of themRoma, continued to be trafficked to be exploited asbeggars, for cheap labour,crime or for adoption.According to official statistics, in the first six months of the year, 119 criminal proceedings were registered withthe Serious Crimes Prosecutor's Office relating tocharges of trafficking women for prostitution, and fiveto charges of trafficking children.In February Albania and Greece signed anagreement, subsequently ratified by parliament,dealing with the protection, repatriation andrehabilitation of trafficked children. In July regionalanti-trafficking committees were established in Albaniato identify and overcome problems in implementingthe national anti-trafficking strategy.
In January, a man was arrested in Saranda on acharge of trafficking two 12-year-old boys to Greece asdrug couriers. The children had reportedly beenarrested by Greek police two months earlier whilecrossing the border with a bag of cannabis.
In April, three men were jointly convicted by theSerious Crimes Court of trafficking six babies toGreece between 1997 and 2003. They receivedsentences of up to 21 years’ imprisonment.There were also reports of trials and convictions of defendants on charges of having trafficked women
 Amnesty International Report 2007

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