Today, in response to the unfolding human rights crisis in Afghanistan, the UN Human Rights Council convened its 31st Special Session, during which the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and ARTICLE 19 called on Member States to respond to the gravity of the crisis and establish a robust independent accountability and monitoring mechanism.
“The Afghan people demand and deserve international assistance to protect their right and it is the responsibility of the Member States of the Human Rights Council to do all they can, urgently,” said Massimo Frigo, ICJ’s UN representative.
“ARTICLE 19 expresses solidarity with Afghan citizens, and we commit to work with partners to support journalists and human rights defenders,” said ARTICLE 19 Executive Director Quinn McKew. “We call for governments and the Human Rights Council to take immediate action to protect these communities. This includes safe evacuation, relocation and resettlement.”
The statement was delivered on behalf the ICJ and ARTICLE 19 and reads as follows:
This statement is delivered on behalf of the ICJ and Article 19.
The rapidly unfolding developments in Afghanistan paint a dire human situation requiring the urgent and sustained action by this Council. Women, children, minorities, human rights defenders, judges and lawyers, and journalists and media workers all stand at greatly heightened risk.
This Council must call on the governing authorities and armed groups to uphold the international human rights obligations of Afghanistan and on all States and UN Agencies to ensure safe corridors to allow for the evacuation and relocation of all persons at risk, including by broadening access to visas and asylum status for affected persons.
Refugees and others needing protection who have fled the country must not be forcibly sent back; the principle of non-refoulement must be fully respected.
We call for the establishment of an independent mechanism adequately staffed and resourced to conduct sustained monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights; and to investigate serious violations of international human rights law and IHL, including by collecting and preserving evidence for prosecution.
Effective fact-finding is the bare minimum.
Words of concern alone from this Council are not enough.
It must use the tools available to it to meet the magnitude of the moment.
I thank you.”
For queries contact:
Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a)icj.org, t: +41797499949