Press Release


2 February 2007

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has expressed concern that the national stability plan passed by Afghanistan’s lower house of Parliament, the “Wolesi Jirga”, on 31 January, could lead to past serious human rights violations going unpunished.

According to the plan, “all opponents who fought each other for different reasons in the past two and a half decades should be attracted to the national reconciliation process and should forgive each other and they should not be dealt with through legal and judicial channels”.

The High Commissioner said the plan “will undermine the process towards securing long term peace through re-establishing the rule of law in Afghanistan”.

“The engagement of Parliament in the national reconciliation process is crucial”, she said. “At the same time, however, those responsible for serious human rights violations must be brought to justice. This is vital both for this and future generations. Experience has shown time and again that effective and durable national reconciliation must be based on respect for international human rights standards and the rule of law, and must not come at their expense."

The High Commissioner recalled that the President of Afghanistan had publicly launched the Action Plan on Peace, Reconciliation and Justice on 10 December 2006 with the objective, among others, of ending impunity and ensuring that there will be no amnesty for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations and that there would be the establishment of fair and effective justice procedures, in accordance with the principles of Islam, international law and transitional justice, to deal with such cases.

This Action Plan forms part of the Afghanistan Compact and is a commitment that Afghanistan has made. "The voices of the victims must be heard and they have spoken out clearly for the culture of impunity in Afghanistan to end", the High Commissioner said.

The High Commissioner called for the Government to vigorously continue implementing the Action Plan to meet the benchmark set in the Afghanistan Compact.


For use of the information media; not an official record