Press release January 27, 2022
Freedom House, Afghan and International NGOs Launch the Afghanistan Human Rights Coordination Mechanism
The mechanism will support Afghan human rights defenders, civil society leaders, and women’s rights and democracy advocates in Afghanistan and around the world.
Yesterday, six Afghan and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) launched a new Afghanistan Human Rights Coordination Mechanism dedicated to the protection and support of Afghan human rights defenders.
Nearly 200 participants attended the virtual launch of the mechanism. These included members of the Afghan human rights community based in Afghanistan and in exile, international NGOs, donors, humanitarian groups, and other activists.
“International support for those defenders who remain on the ground is going to be hugely important now and over the coming years,” said Professor Mary Lawlor, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, in welcoming the creation of the coalition.
“In order for that support to be effective, it’s going to have to be guided by the needs of the defenders themselves, and so I’m glad to [see] the involvement of Afghan civil society in the new mechanism and its aim of surveying the needs of defenders inside the country,” Lawlor added.
Participants in the launch agreed that with talks between the Taliban and American and European diplomats underway in Oslo, Norway, this week, ensuring respect for the human rights of all Afghans must be a top priority.
“Whether the discussion relates to humanitarian aid, security needs, sanctions relief, or economic stagnation, the need to restore basic human rights for all Afghans is absolutely paramount,” said Horia Mosadiq , founder of the Afghan nonprofit Safety and Risk Mitigation Organization (SRMO), which is a founding member of the mechanism. “We are concerned about the urgent need to protect Afghan human rights defenders and civil society leaders and to ensure that universal human rights are at the center of the diplomatic focus in Afghanistan.”
“By organizing this platform and working together, we will help Afghan human rights defenders, civil society leaders, and women’s rights and democracy advocates—in Afghanistan and in exile—to come together, identify their needs, and set out what the Taliban and the international community need to do to ensure that all Afghans are able to exercise their rights,” said Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, executive vice president of Freedom House.
Bibbins Sedaca described the mechanism as “helping to shine a light on what is needed, where the gaps are, and where the diplomatic community is falling short,” adding that “we must leverage all resources to ensure that Afghan human rights defenders and civil society can continue to press for their basic rights.”
The Afghanistan Human Rights Coordination Mechanism is co-led by Freedom House, the Afghan Civil Society Forum (ACSF), the Safety and Risk Mitigation Organization (SRMO), the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s Afghanistan Chapter (WILPF-Afghanistan), MADRE, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). With initial financial support from the Open Society Foundations, the mechanism will map the needs of Afghan human rights defenders and support providers, monitor violations of human rights and civic space, coordinate and share information among actors responding to the crisis, and bring together Afghan and international voices to advocate for full respect for the human rights of all in Afghanistan. The mechanism will seek to identify and direct funds to address gaps revealed by our assessments and through our extensive networks.
For more information, please contact [email protected]
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