Huquq and Human Rights
Afghanistan ratified most of the core international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economical, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention of the Rights of the Child. These instruments content a set of standards that form the basis of the UN human rights system and are a part of international law.
The ratification of the human rights treaties obliges Afghanistan to incorporate them into the domestic law and to enforce them in practice.Afghanistan made a legal commitment to abide by the international human rights treaties, setting forth in Article 7 of the Constitution of Afghanistan that “the State shall abide by the UN charter, international treaties, international conventions that Afghanistan has signed, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
This pledge is further demonstrated by the Government’s commitments to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the Afghanistan Compact and further elaborated in the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) and in its Second Pillar - Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights, which provides a comprehensive and integrated strategy, reflecting the recent experience and current conditions.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) establishes a Human Rights Support Unit (HRSU) to assist the Executive Branch to fulfill the State obligations in integrating human rights principles and standards into legislation, policy, and programmes, and consequently strengthening their service delivery to the people of the country.
- The Mandate of the HRSU
The HRSU shall be primarily responsible for strengthening the Government’s capacity to fulfil its international human rights obligations in conformity with the Constitution of Afghanistan. The HRSU within the MoJ will act as an internal governmental mechanism, mandated to monitor, assess and evaluate the Executive Branch in regards to the implementation of human rights and to comply with and report on its human rights treaty body obligations.
- The Duties and Responsibilities of the HRSU
The HRSU shall provide advisory services and technical assistance to the Executive Branch on applying human rights based approach in conducting their tasks, responsibilities and service delivery to the public.The work includes the formulation and implementation of policies, practices and procedures that develop government’s capacity to respect protectand fulfill its obligationsto ensure the enjoyment of human rights by all as it is enshrined in the Constitution:
- The HRSU shall develop and draft policies and guidelines in the area of human rights responsibilities of the relevant ministries;
- The HRSU shall develop the capacity and provide technical advisory and support services to government agencies, assisting them to incorporate and mainstream human rights in their policies, legislation and respective areas of responsibility (including standing operating procedures) as stipulated in the Constitution, MDGs and ANDS.
- The HRSUshall give technical assistance to the Taqnin Department of MoJ in the drafting of laws andby-laws to ensure that legal drafting is in compliance with the Government of Afghanistan's obligations;
- The HRSU shall assess the protection and promotion of human rightsat the ministerial levels and provide advice on improvinghuman rights;
- The HRSU shall co-operate with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) by following up on cases presented by AIHRC to the MoJ and providing the collaborative training for relevant ministries;
- The HRSU shall oversee the implementation of the human rights aspects of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS)at theministerial levels;
- The HRSU shall provide guidance on how to meet the Afghanistan Compact human rights and human rights related benchmarks; provide coordination and technical assistance for the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure consistent and systematic monitoring of progress; provide leadership in developing strategies, policies and actions to achieve the stated goals of the specific Afghanistan Compact's human rights benchmarks as well as related the Afghanistan Compact's benchmarks in the implementation of national development strategies through the technical working group meetings, the Joint Coordination Monitoring Board sessions and ANDS implementation programmes; and coordinate reporting performance against this.
- The HRSU shall take part actively in the human rights aspects of the work of various inter-ministerial groups which act within the Government of Afghanistan;
- The HRSU shall cooperate with and support the Ministry of ForeignAffairs in its treaty monitoring reporting mandate by following up on the implementation of treaty-body recommendations;
- The HRSU shall assist the Government to promote the development of tools for improving human rights and public legal awareness in the provinces;
- The HRSU shall build the national capacity at provincial levels for developing a human rights culture and improving the implementation of laws with human rights implications; and advising on the development of sub-national policies.
- Organizational Placement
The HRSU shall be placed within the MoJ and shall work closely with the Taqnin Department within the ministry. The HRSU shall be included into the Ministry’s organigram (Tashkeel).
At the inter-ministerial level, the HRSU shall work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Ministry of Health and other line ministries as may be required.
TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS SUPPORT UNIT AT THE MINISTERIAL LEVEL
- Reporting Line
At the Ministry level, the HRSU shall report directly to the Minister of Justice and the HRSU Task Force. The HRSU shall produce reports every six months. A draft report shall be sent, together with relevant documents, to the Minister of Justice and the Task Force for review and comments. The report may include recommendations to the relevant authorities. The report will be available to the public after its finalization and endorsement by the Task Force. The report shall also be published on the HRSU website.
- Logistical arrangements
1.5.1 Support provided by UNDP through the donors’ community
The UNDP’s Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA) Project shall provide, within the budget and agreed activities, the necessary equipment to the MoJ to support the establishment and functioning of the HRSU.
1.5.2. Duration of the UNDP support to the HRSU
The UNDP support to the HRSU, including of staff hired under the project for HRSU, is limited only to the duration of JHRA Project and availability of financial resources thereto.Any future UNDP support to the HRSU shall depend on mutual UNDP and the Government of Afghanistan agreement and the availability of the required resources.
1.5.3. Support provided by MoJ
The Ministry in partnership with UNDP JHRA Project will rent suitable office space for the HRSU. The MoJ shall allocate the necessary office space for the HRSU once the Ministry completes the construction of new office facilities for its departments.