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We condemn 15 April terrorist attacks

Joint Statement of Transitional Justice Coordination Group (TJCG) & 22 Civil Society umbrella groups, Human Rights, Women’s Rights and Media organisations of Afghanistan
Sunday 22 April 2012

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The terrorist attacks on 15 April 2012 in Kabul, Nangarhar, Lugar and Paktia provinces, which led to the killing and wounding of civilians, soldiers and police, display the fragility of the national security conditions and the determination of the Taliban and their supporters to continue the war against the people of Afghanistan.

The attacks pointed out the incorrectness of the actions and the strategy of the Afghanistan government and its international supporters under the pretext of reconciliation and demonstrated once again that “Peace without Justice” will be fragile and not last. The innocent people of Afghanistan, however, pay the price of this mistaken strategy. Our statesmen have opened the gates to the belligerent opposition groups with the slogan of "peace and reconciliation"; without being able to provide security, justice and the rule of law and to create proper and systematic institutional processes to examine the reasons for three decades of war; to establish national reconciliation; and provide justice for victims of war. The policy of the current government and its international supporters has in fact received no response other than explosions and terror every time. The principal victims are always the children of this land. After 10 years, the government and its international supporters have not been able to extinguish the flames of war through channels of law and justice; they have failed to remove the actors of war.

This is only one side of the story. The other side is the increasing number of cases of human rights violations, violence against women, , injustice, lawlessness and killing of civilians. By promoting negotiations at any cost and reconciliation with the terrorists, leaving them free hand like a shadow government in various parts of the country and planning to give them a share in government without consideration for justice, the basic rights of the people are and will be sacrificed in practice.

Do not ignore the positive achievements of the last 10 years!

The people of Afghanistan have voiced their views and wishes in several elections in the past 10 years. Their strong presence in the first Presidential Election signified an outright rejection of the Taleban “governance” once and for all.

The Transitional Justice Coordination Group and other human rights, women’s rights and civil society groups have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the unsoundness of “peace without justice” strategy to the government and the international community and have consistently advocated a strategy of “peace with justice”, demanding development and enhancement of the country’s justice system. These voices have remained unheard and neither the government nor the international community has responded to them yet. The Afghanistan government and the international community have so far failed to take practical preventive measures against terrorist attacks and to protect the civilians.

On the other hand, the escape of Taleban prisoners from prisons in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the premature release of inmates of armed opposition groups before prosecuting them, and failure to investigate reports on torture in prisons have promoted the culture of impunity and undermined the rule of law.

The government of Afghanistan and the international community give assurances that the Taleban have grown weaker and incapable of fighting. However, events such as the recent terrorist attacks, the summary “customary courts” set up in the provinces that issue death sentences; the cases of stoning, acid throwing, poisoning the drinking water of girls’ schools and other incidents prove this claim wrong. The climate of fear and terror among the citizens of Afghanistan is expanding the people’s distrust of the international community and the government. Violence and cruelty against women are on the rise. The rise in civilian casualties and disregard for them are cause for concern of the Human rights and civil society communities. The civil society institutions have offered specific mechanisms for the peace process in Afghanistan. We have access to the experience of a large number of countries that have achieved peace after conflict. The failure to attend to these demands and proposals has restricted the scope of democracy, human rights and justice. The government’s silence on and the disregard of justice mechanisms for prosecution of terrorist attackers are questionable.

The terrorist attacks in Kandahar, Baghlan, Herat, Helmand, the killing of several women by their family members, the death sentences issued by “customary courts” in various parts of the country, acid throwing on two children (an 8-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl) in Ghazni province, poisoning of scores of female students in Takhar Province as well as numerous other incidents have occurred since the beginning of the new solar year in March 2012. Absence of security has put a halt on the fulfilment of basic and infrastructure works and impeded investigations of widespread violations of human and women’s rights.

The signatories of this Statement call on the government of Afghanistan to comply with international conventions and covenants, as required by Article 7 of the Constitution, and to deal firmly with the terrorists.

We warn the government of Afghanistan and its international supporters that the “peace without justice” process shall have bloody consequences for the people.

To the attention of the Government of Afghanistan:

The Government

• is required to deal under Law with commanders and perpetrators of the terrorist attacks to protect justice and end impunity;

• must not enforce on the people the current peace process, which is based on injustice;

• must revise the inefficient methods and mechanisms adopted in the peace process, to listen to victims and respond to their demands for justice;

• is required to prevent violence against women and the rising human rights abuses, and deal with commitment with perpetrators and human rights violators;

The Government of Afghanistan is committed to the Geneva Conventions and is obliged to abide by them. The Judiciary must investigate the perpetrators of domestic violence and human rights violations.

To the attention of the international community:

• The international community has been constantly talking about democracy, security, human rights, women’s rights and provision of justice. This has remained pure talk and the international community has not taken effective action in this regard. It is required to abide by its obligations to create a stable, democratic society free of violence and human rights abuses in Afghanistan;

• The current peace process in this country contravenes all the international treaties and the promises of the international community to the people of Afghanistan and international public opinion;

• Encouraging the Taleban and other terrorist groups and inviting them to join the peace process without being accountable paves the way for human rights violators, prevents reforms of the Administration and establishment of democratic and accountable institutions in the country;

• The increased violence, insecurity and instability in the country are in part due to incorrect and uncalled for policies in Afghanistan. Ignoring the people, extra-legal actions and absence of accountability undermine obligations to human rights and justice, deepen the crisis and make it more difficult to reach solutions.

Transitional Justice Coordination Group; Women’s Political Participation Committee; Afghan Civil Society Forum Organization; Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission; Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization; Armanshahr Foundation; Cooperation Center for Afghanistan (CCA); Cooperation for Peace and Development; Fadayi Herawi Publishing House; Human Rights Focus Organisation; Rawan Online; Foundation of Solidarity for Justice; People’s Radio; Nai Institute; Civil Society & Human Rights Network (CSHRN); Women’s 50% Campaign; All Afghan Women Union; Civil Society Development Center; National Movement of Young People of Afghanistan; Sobhan Foundation; Camera Magazine; New thinkers Cultural and Social Association; Family and Citizen Rights Development Forum; 8 Sobh Daily

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