The AIHRC is a national human rights institution working in the area of protection and promotion of human rights. This Institution was established based on the Bone Agreement and Presidential Decree and afterwards, pursuant to Article 58 of the Afghan Constitution, it found a legal base to monitor the observance of human rights as well as to protect and promote human rights in the country, "Every individual shall complain to this Commission about the violation of personal human rights. The Commission shall refer human rights violations of individuals to legal authorities and assist them in defense of their rights.
The structure, duties and mandates of the AIHRC have also been defined in a special law. The AIHRC has a board of leadership composed of 9 Commissioners that are determined by the President for a period of five years. The AIHRC’s Chairperson is a member of the Commission that is appointed by the President. Deputy Chairperson of the AIHRC is elected from among the members of the AIHRC.
The Secretariat of the AIHRC is headed by the Executive Director of the Commission. All the administrative and executive activities of the Commission are regulated by the Executive Director. There are several program units in the structure of the AIHRC to carry out the activities of the Commission. These Units are as follows:
Human Rights Education;
Monitoring and Investigation of Human Rights Violations;
Women’s Rights Unit
Children’s Rights Unit
Persons with Disability Rights Unit
Transitional justice Unit
Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Unit
Research and Investigation Unit
Special Monitoring Unit (monitoring the observance of international humanitarian law during armed conflicts)
The following units are supporting the AIHRC:
Information technology (IT)
Human Resources Unit and
The programs and activities of the AIHRC are carried out by a Central Office in Kabul, eight regional offices and six provincial offices across the country. Each of the Regional Office covers several provinces and provincial offices also work in the same province. These offices are as follows:
Through these fifteen Offices, the AIHRC covers all the country to implement its programs and activities.
Objectives, activities and programs of the AIHRC:
According to the Law on the Structure, Duties and Mandate of the AIHRC, the Commission is mandated to carry out the following five activities:
Monitoring the observance of human rights
Promotion and protection of human rights
Monitoring the situation of and the people’s access to human rights and freedoms
Investigations of research on violations of human rights
Adoption of measures to improve and promote the human rights situation in the country.
Activities and working programs of the AIHRC is outlined within the AIHRC’s Strategic Plan and Five-year Action Plan. The current Strategic Plan and Action Plan of the Commission covers the years from 2014 to 2018 are covered. The new Strategic Plan Commission was prepared during a long process in which more than 761 people, state institutions, civil society, media, judges, prosecutors, police, human rights defenders and women, representatives of supporting institutions were involved. The AIHRC’s activities and programs focus on four strategic objectives:
Promotion of human rights
Protection and monitoring of human rights
Article 21 of the Law on Structure, Duties and Mandate of the AIHRC has defined the AIHRC’s duties and mandates in 35 paragraphs. Part of the AIHRC’s duties, which are established in the Law on Structure, Duties and Mandates of the AIHRC are as follows:
1. Monitoring the human rights situation;
2. Monitoring the implementation of the provisions of the Constitution, other laws, bills and regulations, and Afghanistan’s commitment to human rights standards;
3. Monitoring the performance of those administrative systems, legal and judicial institutions, and national and international, profitable and non-profitable organizations in the country that affect human rights.
4. Monitoring the performance of state authorities and Non- Governmental organizations concerning the fair and accessible distribution of services and welfare.
5. Monitoring the situation of citizens’ access to their human rights and freedoms;
6. Visiting detention centers to monitor the implementation laws on the treatment of prisoners;
7. Investigation of cases of human rights violations;
8. Collecting documents, evidence and testimonies of witnesses on cases of human rights violations;
9. Referring the results of investigations of the cases of human rights violation to relevant authorities and following up on cases in order to address violations and prevent future violations;
10. Formulating and implementing of a national human rights education plan and public awareness programs;
11. Cooperating with relevant institutions on improving human rights awareness in educational curriculum;
12. Planning and implementing programs that include the investigation of crimes and human rights abuses as part of the transitional process;
13. Providing advice to the National Assembly/Parliament and the government to legislate, adopt, and amend laws in support of human rights promotion and protection, and to abolish laws that are not in compliance with international human rights standards;
14. Providing advice to the National Assembly and the government regarding signing and acceding to international human rights conventions and treaties;
15. Providing advice to the government for better implementation of Afghanistan’s commitments to international human rights conventions;
16. Carrying out research to find effective ways of harmonizing principles and mechanisms of international human rights instruments with Afghan culture and national traditions and making suggestions in this respect;
17. Providing advice and necessary information to the government to prepare
Afghanistan’s reports which fulfill its treaty obligations;
18. Cooperating with government and non-governmental authorities and other organizations to improve the implementation of human rights standards and raise the level of human rights observance in relevant areas;
19. Cooperation for implementation of administration reforms to ensure, support and improve human rights in Afghanistan;
20. Cooperating with the United Nations, and regional and international organizations within the scope of its mandate and power;
21. Conducting public consultations and surveys to find practical ways of promoting and protecting human rights and develop relevant programs;
22. Providing advice and submitting recommendations to the national, provincial and district councils and other relevant authorities for promotion and protection of human rights;
23. Building the capacity of civil society groups and local human rights organizations and supporting their activities;
24. Releasing and publishing of public declarations and official statements on important issues of human rights;
25. Demanding officials to explain the causes of non-observance of human rights principles;
26. Dissemination and promotion of human rights for public awareness;
27. Submitting annual reports to the President on the human rights situation;
28. Releasing and publishing reports and statements on human rights situation in
29. Providing guidance and advice to the President on how to address human rights violations and abuses;
Managing and administering headquarters, regional and provincial offices and monitoring the performance, activities and the behavior of the staff members;
31. Building relations at the national and international level in the field of human rights activities and better implementation of the provisions of this Law;
32. Securing necessary facilities and opportunities to promote the activities of the Commission;
33. Regulating the reporting on the human rights situation for scientific and practical use;
34. Adopting bills and regulations to regulate the affairs relating to the rights, responsibilities, privileges and insurance for the staff members of the Commission;
35. Having the responsibility to implement the present Law.
A number of the most important tasks carried out by the AIHRC to achieve the strategic objectives established in the Law on Structure, Duties and Mandates of the AIHRC as well as in the Action Plan are as below:
It is worth mentioning that the AIHRC’s Strategic Plan is a results-based planning, and has 11 outcomes, 28 outputs and 110 active. Strategic Plan is strengthened and complemented by the Annual Action Plan and a budget.
It is worth mentioning that the AIHRC’s strategic plan contains 11 outcomes and 28 outputs on the base of which 110 activities of the AIHRC have been considered. The strategic plan is supported and completed by annual action plans and a budget.
Effectiveness of the AIHRC’s Achievements
During 13 years after its establishment, the AIHRC has made outstanding achievements in the areas of human rights promotion, protection and dissemination in the country.
Three national inquiries on honor killings, sexual assaults, Bacha Bazi, traffic accidents and targeted killings were launched by the AIHRC at the country level and their reports were published; currently, human rights are recognized as a pivotal topic and are considered as part of the national dialogue. Public awareness, understanding of human rights issues has enhanced. Based on a report by the AIHRC in 2011, almost 49 percent of interviewees had a good understanding about human rights issues. People’s access to education and health facilities have been improved. People enjoy their right to freedom of speech, cases of “honor killings” and “sexual assaults” are not considered taboo anymore, the victims and their families talk about these issues. Private jails have been closed (No news about the functioning of private jails are heard at the moment). The eye-catching decrease can be witnessed about cases of torture all over the country. The number of illegal prisoners has decreased considerably. The number of illegal prisoners exceeded 434 persons in 2010. This number decreased to 308 persons in 2011, while 263 illegal prisoners existed in 2012. It shows a 39 % decrease in three years (2010 to 2012). People, civil society institutions, defenders of human rights and media repeatedly talk about transitional justice. The government of Afghanistan is encouraged by the people to prevent warlords and human rights violators from nomination in any future elections. Similarly, coordination groups and victims make advocacy for the ideals of transitional justice and demand for the publishing of the Conflict Mapping Report by the AIHRC.
The AIHRC has cooperation and good relations with civil society institutions, religious scholars, media, and international institutions to carry out its duties and mandates properly. Functioning and performances of the AIHRC depend on the enhancement of cooperation by the state organs, including police, attorney, courts, National Security Department, Parliament and other state institutions and always demands for expansion of relations with them. The AIHRC has close working relations with civil society institutions and makes efforts to build up their capacity and also conducts some joint activities with them.
At the international level, the AIHRC is one of the credible members of the APF. This is an independent regional forum consisting of 15 national human rights institutions of the regional countries. The AIHRC obtained A Status and is recognized as an outstanding national human rights institution.
The AIHRC is a member of the ICC. This committee presents recommendations on working improvements to national human rights institutions in the protection and promotion of human rights and evaluates the compliance of the national human rights activities with the Paris Principles. In November 2008, after a special evaluation, this Committee confirmed A Status for the AIHRC for a term of five years.
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