Urgent Action: Human Rights Defenders Under Attack (Afghanistan: UA 118.20)

July 10, 2020

Afghanistan’s human rights community is under intensifying attack from both the authorities and armed groups as human rights defenders and activists face intimidation, harassment, threats and violence. Against the backdrop of escalating violence in Afghanistan, human rights defenders and activists have been largely ignored by the Afghan government and the international community. The government of Afghanistan needs to immediately adopt an independent, effective and implementable protection mechanism for HRDs in the country, to ensure their safety and support.



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H.E. Muhammad Ashraf Ghani
President, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
ARG Presidential Palace
Akber, Kabul, Afghanistan
Email:  [email protected]
Ambassador Roya Rahmani
Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 483 6410 I Fax: 202 483 6488
Email: [email protected]
Contact form: https://bit.ly/2VpBvwU
Twitter: @RoyaRahmani @Embassy_of_AFG
Facebook: @embassyofafghanistan
Salutation: Dear Ambassador


President Muhammahd Ashraf Ghani,

I am writing to express my grave concern over the deteriorating situation of human rights defenders in Afghanistan, who continuously face intimidation, harassment, threats and violence – from both the authorities and armed groups. As highlighted in Amnesty International’s 2019 report Defenseless Defenders: Afghanistan’s Human Rights Community Under Attack, the civic space within which they operate has shrunk dramatically.

Human rights defenders (HRDs) have long played a key role in addressing serious human rights challenges in Afghanistan. They have proposed new laws and amendments to old ones, proposed plans and strategies for action by the government, and monitored the implementation of these laws and policies. Despite guarantees in the Afghanistan Constitution, and the ratification of several key UN treaties on human rights, HRDs are not afforded adequate protection when they have faced with threats and harassment. When an incident occurs, there have been few options for legal recourse with a weak judiciary and a failure by the authorities to carry out effective investigations.

Amnesty International, in close collaboration with 32 human rights organizations, presented the “Afghanistan Human Rights Defenders Protection Strategy” on January 2020 with the presence of Second Vice President, Sarwar Danish. It is intended as a roadmap for the government to adopt an independent, effective and implementable protection mechanism for protection of HRDs in the country.

I call on you to immediately establish the HRD Protection Joint Commission as proposed in Afghanistan Human Rights Defenders Protection Strategy; establish especial measures to provide protection support to human rights defenders facing threats, intimidation and violence; and with support of the international community, secure and allocate specific funds for human rights defenders’ protection through establishment of a basket fund.

Yours sincerely,