Vive Le Canada

State Dept: Sickening Abuse by Afghan Gov Officials
Date: Friday, March 09 2007
Topic:


The practice of courts ordering the defendant to provide compensation in the form of young girls in marriage to a victims' family continued.


Human rights organizations reported that local authorities continued to routinely torture and abuse detainees - consisting of pulling out fingernails and toenails, burning with hot oil, beatings, sexual humiliation, and sodomy.


The practice of using young boys as objects of pleasure by governmental commanders, tribal leaders, and others was more than a rare occurrence.


Most experts believe the practice of child trafficking was widespread and continued to be a problem. The law does not prohibit trafficking in persons. The government did little to combat trafficking in persons.


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EXCERPTING OF THE REPORT

The term “commanders” in this report refers to Afghan government officials (police, military, border patrols, etc.)


Agencies cited:

AIHRC -> Afghan Independ Hum Rts Comm (Afghan Government Agency)

UNAMA -> UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan


Excerpted Version: 13pgs from 49pg original Part 1 -&- Part 2

Full Version: US State Dept Report


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ROUTINE TORTURE

Human rights organizations reported that local authorities in Herat, Helmand, Badakhshan, and other locations continued to routinely torture and abuse detainees. Torture and abuse consisted of pulling out fingernails and toenails, burning with hot oil, beatings, sexual humiliation, and sodomy.


WOMEN IN DETENTION BECOME SLAVES

The UN Commission expert states: "Because of the absence of detention facilities for women in the districts, women found to be guilty of acts that may not constitute legal offences were confined to the personal custody of tribal leaders and others. These women are sometimes forced into slave-like conditions outside the reach of the law and are reportedly subject to sexual and physical abuse. The charges brought against them are reported to arise in large part out of allegations of 'immoral conduct,' which did not, however, constitute a legal violation."

......In addition, some cases allegedly involved crimes committed by spouses and fathers for which the women were forced to accept responsibility.


NO INVESTIGATIONS

There was no official investigation following the September 2005 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report that security forces arbitrarily detained civilians and committed cruel, inhumane, and degrading acts

......There were continued allegations of rape and sexual abuse in government detention although investigations did not result in charges.


DETAINED CHILDREN USED FOR SEX

Children were normally kept in detention centers which lacked appropriate facilities and they were exposed to physical and sexual exploitation. Children and juveniles were commonly held in the same cells as violent adult criminals.


PRISONS “INADEQUATE”

The AIHRC continued to report that inadequate food, water, poor sanitation facilities, insufficient blankets, and infectious diseases were common conditions in the country's prisons.

......Prisoners were reportedly beaten, tortured, and denied adequate food. Prison guards routinely denied visitors, food, and outside exercise as a means of discipline and to ensure good behavior.


POLICE CORRUPTION AND ABUSE

The Afghan National Police engendered mistrust among the local population, and reports of corruption and mistreatment of citizens in custody were widespread.

......Fueled in part by inadequate and irregular payment of salaries, corruption and official impunity remained pervasive problems.



WRONGFUL DETENTIONS

The UN Human Rights Commission, ICRC, and AIHRC all reported that arbitrary and prolonged detentions were a frequent occurrence throughout the country. There were credible reports in 2005 that police continued to detain prisoners in Kabul and Ghazni after they were found innocent.


NON-FUNCTIONSING “COURT” SYSTEM

Justice was administered on an intermittent basis according to a mixture of codified law, Shari'a (Islamic law), and local custom. Functioning courts, police and prisons were an exception.

......Judges had minimal training and often based their judgments on their personal understanding of Islamic law and tribal codes of honor. In rural areas local elders and shuras were the primary means of settling both criminal matters and civil disputes. These customary shuras or "jirgas" did not adhere to the constitutional rights of citizens and often violated the rights of women and minorities.

......There were reports that individuals, often women, were arrested and sentenced to jail time for crimes committed by other family members.


TRIAL PROCEDURES VIOLATE BASIC JUSTICE

Court procedures generally did not meet internationally accepted standards for fair trials.
The defendants right to be present and to appeal were inconsistently applied.

......The practice of ordering the defendant to provide compensation in the form of young girls in marriage to a victims' family continued. In such proceedings, the accused typically had no right to legal representation, bail, or appeal.

......Defendants were not allowed to confront or question witnesses.

......The courts reportedly heard cases in sessions that lasted only a few minutes.

......As example: in March Abdul Rahman was put on trial for the crime of apostasy-conversion from Islam to Christianity

......Interpretations of religious doctrine often trumped human or constitutional rights.

......According to Islamic law, conversion from Islam is punishable by death.

POLICE AS CRIMINALS

Police officials, and local commanders forcibly invaded and looted the homes and businesses of civilians with impunity.

......NGOs reported that some local commanders charged them for the relief supplies they were bringing into the country.

......In Badakhshan a local commander pressured a family to marry off its 13-year-old daughter to the son of a prominent politician.


GOVERNMENT GAGS PRESS

During the year various government officials, foreign governments, regional commanders, subjected members of the press to harassment, intimidation, and violence.

......Government repression and armed groups prevent the media from operating freely by demanding that news be broadcast a certain way.

......Fifty cases were registered of intimidation and undue influence by commanders and government officials.

......Some media observers stated that individuals could not criticize the government publicly or privately without fear of reprisal.


RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE

The constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association; however, this right was restricted in practice.

......Members of the government called for the execution of Christian converts. Abdul Rahman was arrested for converting to Christianity and faced the death sentence.

......Sikh and Hindu faiths stopped attending schools due to harassment from both teachers and students, and the government did not implement measures to protect these children.


MOBILITY HINDERED

The passport law requires a woman to obtain permission from a male family member before having a passport application processed.

......Taxi, truck, and bus drivers complained that security forces and armed militants operated illegal checkpoints and extorted money and goods.


NO FREE ELECTIONS

In 2004 election observers noted irregularities, including pervasive intimidation of voters and candidates, in particular women.

......There were reports that some used fear and intimidation to influence other members to vote according to their preferences.


CRIMINALS RUNING AFGHANISTAN

Government corruption was exacerbated by a lack of political accountability and capacity to monitor government spending

......Observers alleged that governors with involvement in the drug trade or past records of human rights violations served in various presidential appointments with relative impunity.

......HRW released a press statement naming several prominent government officials as gross human rights violators. Karzai defended these officials, stating that the officials had played a positive role in ensuring peace in the country.

...... [ EXTERNAL MATERIAL: HRW : “Most prominent among this group are parliamentarians Abdul Rabb al Rasul Sayyaf, Mohammed Qasim Fahim and Burhanuddin Rabbani, Minister of Energy Ismail Khan, Army Chief of Staff Abdul Rashid Dostum, and current Vice President Karim Khalili, all of whom continue to misuse positions of power.” - - COMPLETE HRW REPORT: Blood-Stained Hands: Past Atrocities in Kabul and Afghanistan’s Legacy of Impunity ]


POLICE ARREST WOMEN FOR FAMILIES

Police often detained women at the request of family members for crimes of running away or actions that include defying the family's wishes on the choice of a spouse, running away from home, fleeing domestic violence, eloping, or for other "moral" offenses such as adultery or premarital sex.

......There were also reports that women were detained when they reported crimes perpetrated against them and as substitutes for their husbands or male relatives who were convicted of crimes


AUTHORITIES MAKE WOMEN SUFFER MOST

Cases of local authorities policing aspects of women's appearance to conform to a conservative interpretation of Islam and local custom continued to diminish.

......Rape against women and boys and domestic violence against women remained serious problems. In most parts of the country where knowledge of the actual law was minimal, elders relied on Shari'a law and tribal custom. Rape cases require that a woman produce multiple witnesses. On the whole, women reported having little to no access to justice at all in tribal shuras.

......According to NGO reports hundreds of thousands of women continued to suffer abuse at the hands of their husbands, fathers, brothers, armed individuals, parallel legal systems, and institutions of state such as the police and justice system.

......Abusers were rarely prosecuted and investigations were rarely carried out for complaints of violent attacks, rape, murders, or suicides of women. If the case did come to court, the accused were often exonerated or punished lightly. Women who reported rape face being locked up and accused of having committed crimes of zina.

......Exchanging or selling women or girls remained a customary method of resolving disputes or satisfying debts, even though it was outlawed by presidential decree.

......During the year the AIHRC reported a case in which a girl was raped by her brother. In order to save the family's reputation the parents set the girl on fire. At year's end authorities had not investigated this case.

......There were no regulations explicitly outlawing domestic violence and no accurate statistics for the number of women affected by domestic violence. Domestic violence usually occurs in the form of beating of women and children and, less often, in the burning of women by other family members.

......Many women were imprisoned at the request of a family member. Some women are in detention facilities because they had run away from home due to domestic violence or the prospect of forced marriage. Many Kabul women turned away from the four secure hostels in Kabul end up in prison.

......There was an increase in the trafficking in women for commercial sexual exploitation during the year.

......There were 106 reported cases of self-immolation, several of which were women protesting a forced marriage, with an overall increase over the past two years.


NO CHILD PROTECTION

UNICEF estimated that one child out of four did not survive to his or her fifth birthday.

......A Ministry of Health survey revealed that 54 percent of children under age five were chronically malnourished.

......UNICEF estimates that of the two million children (54 percent) who were out of school, 1.3 million were girls. Estimates of female literacy varied from 5 to 13 percent.

......The practice of using young boys as objects of pleasure by commanders, tribal leaders, and others was more than a rare occurrence. There were also a few documented cases of abduction of young boys for sexual exploitation by commanders.

......AIHRC found that many girls aged six to seven were forced to marry men several decades older.

......There is no Criminal Procedure Law to penalize those who arrange forced or underage marriages.

......Most experts believe the practice of child trafficking was widespread and continued to be a problem

......There was no evidence that authorities in any part of the country enforced labor laws relating to the employment of children.

......Many worked under unscrupulous employers who subjected the children to sexual exploitation and forced labor.

......UNHCR reported that many children worked on the streets of Kabul, Jalalabad, and Mazar-i-Sharif in increasing numbers.


HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The law does not prohibit trafficking in persons; however, traffickers could be prosecuted under other laws

......The government did little to combat trafficking in persons. Prosecution of perpetrators also continued to be inconsistent.

......Some government officials were believed to be involved in trafficking in persons, particularly border guards who took bribes to allow traffickers to cross


AIHRC -> Afghan Ind... UNAMA -> UN Assista... Part 1 Part 2 US State Dept Report HRW Blood-Stained Hands: P...



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