Side-event on the Human Rights Situation in Afghanistan & Victims of Terrorism: Accountability to Safeguard the Rights of Victims of Terrorism and Human Rights Defenders

Side-event on the Human Rights Situation in  Afghanistan & Victims of Terrorism:  Accountability to Safeguard the Rights of Victims of Terrorism and Human Rights  Defenders Side-event on the Human Rights Situation in  Afghanistan & Victims of Terrorism:  Accountability to Safeguard the Rights of Victims of Terrorism and Human Rights  Defenders Side-event on the Human Rights Situation in  Afghanistan & Victims of Terrorism:  Accountability to Safeguard the Rights of Victims of Terrorism and Human Rights  Defenders
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Side-event on the Human Rights Situation in Afghanistan & Victims of Terrorism: Accountability to Safeguard the Rights of Victims of Terrorism and Human Rights Defenders

On the margins of the 47th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council

 

VIDEO of the event (available until 30 July): 

 https://1drv.ms/v/s!Al9P6h5Q9uwdtE4m9046OSjjVM1s?e=1ciXff 

 

This event is co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations in Geneva, the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations in Geneva, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, and the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism and on the situation of human rights defenders. The event will be held on the margins of the 47th session of the Human Rights Council and seeks to address the imperative of accountability as a key component of the response to the ongoing violence, including the direct targeting of women and girls, women human rights defenders, civil society, and the promotion of human rights and the rights of victims and survivors of terrorism.

 

This event aims to address the linkages between the direct targeting of women and girls, women human rights defenders, civil society, and the overarching need to ensure the promotion and protection of their human rights, including as victims of terrorism. The event will bring focused attention to the scale and causalities of ongoing human rights violations in Afghanistan, including the grave impact of terrorism and the most recent incidents targeting right defenders, media workers, health workers, deminers, judges, civil servants, girls attending school and a maternity ward. The event builds upon Afghanistan’s leadership on each of these issues, highlighting the need for more sustained and proactive efforts to ensure accountability for such violations. For example, in 2019, in June in New York, a group of States led by Afghanistan and Spain launched a “Group of Friends of Victims of Terrorism” with the aim of bringing additional focus and activity at the United Nations to this topic. Afghanistan also led a joint statement at the Human Rights Council calling for increased visibility of the rights of victims of terrorism in the work of the Council and its relevant mechanisms. This event will explore how the plight of human rights defenders and civil society is connected to the rights of victims of terrorism and explore new measures and modalities to advance human rights protection in this time of transition, including through the mandate of the Human Rights Council. The event will also highlight the Council’s important role in prevention, monitoring and addressing the situation of human rights violations and facilitating concrete action.

Member States, the United Nations, and Afghan leaders, human rights defenders and experts working at the international, national and local levels will engage in a dialogue to facilitate attention and momentum towards concrete commitments to act on the rights of victims of terrorism, civil society and human rights defenders and achieve accountability among stakeholders on all levels during this critical time.

Victims of terrorism continue to struggle to have their voices heard, have their needs supported and their rights upheld. Victims often feel forgotten and neglected once the 2 immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack fades, which can have profound consequences for them. Few Members States have the resources or the capacity to fulfill the medium and long-term needs required for victims to fully recover, rehabilitate and integrate back into society. Victims can only recover and cope with their trauma through long-term multi-dimensional support, including physical, psychological, social and financial, in order to heal and live with dignity. The primary responsibility to support victims of terrorism and uphold their rights rests with Member States. Since the appointment of the first Special Rapporteur Martin Scheinin, the rights of victims of terrorism have been a concern for all holders of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism mandate. All previous Special Rapporteurs and the current office holder have been deeply committed to a human-rights-based approach to victims of terrorism. Efforts have been made to highlight victims of terrorism issues in UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, and Security Council resolutions, findings and recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, as well as other UN and regional sources. For instance, in its resolution 72/165 (2017), the General Assembly established 21 August as the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism in order to honor and support the victims and survivors of terrorism and to promote and protect the full enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The NGO, International Commission of Jurists, has compiled a comprehensive compilation of these relevant past resolutions.

In 2011, a panel discussion focusing exclusively on the human rights of victims of terrorism took place at Human Rights Council. However, to date, no comprehensive instrument solely dedicated to the human rights of victims of terrorism has been adopted. As Special Rapporteur Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin states – “We do that best not only by respecting the dignity and humanity of victims but by ensuring their legal rights are protected. The first step to that end, is defining and making knowledge of their rights available to all victims.

” As such, one of the key expected outcomes will be the presentation and discussion of concrete recommendations to promote engagement of the monitoring of the current human rights situation and accountability, including consideration of how United Nations Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms can support the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s primary efforts on these pressing issues.

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Agenda Date: 6 July 2021 Time: 15:00-16:30 (Geneva) | 17:30-19:00 (Kabul)

Welcoming Remarks and Chair

  • Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

Opening Remarks

  • H.E. Mr. Nasir Ahmad Andisha. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations in Geneva
  • H.E. Ms. Tine Mørch Smith, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations, Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations in Geneva
  • Ms. Shaharzad Akbar, Chairperson of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission

Panel Discussion Moderated by Mr. Saman Zarifi, Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists

  • Dr. Orzala Nemat, Director, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit
  • Ms. Metra Mehran, co-Founder of Feminine Perspectives Campaign & women’s empowerment & education advocate
  • Mr. Hadi Marifat, Executive Director, Afghanistan Rights and Democracy Organisation

Statements from the “floor” 

  • Member States, United Nations, civil society are invited to make statements on behalf of their entity at this time. 

Closing Remarks

  • Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
  • Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 15/07/2021

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