The EU and its Member States acknowledge the important progress made by the Government of Afghanistan in promoting respect for human rights, in particular in the field of freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of the media, and on the legislative side. We also welcome the commitments underlining the priority areas of the Afghan Government, expressed during the Universal Periodic Review of Afghanistan in January 2014 in Geneva, within the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework and at other occasions.
However, the human rights situation in Afghanistan remains fragile and worrying. Key areas of concern for the EU continue to be women's rights, children's rights, the death penalty, torture and ill-treatment, freedom of expression, civilian casualties, access to justice and rights of persons with disabilities.
It is crucial for the government to follow up on the positive steps taken and implement important laws and national action plans, such as the Elimination of the Violence against Women (EVAW) Law and the National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security. The EU remains committed to support these efforts.
The EU+ Human Rights and Gender Working Group, that consists of all EU Member States present in Afghanistan as well as Australia, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, United States, UNAMA/OHCHR, UNICEF, UN Women, RSM and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, meet regularly to coordinate common efforts to assist the Afghan Government in improving human rights, and especially women's and children's rights in Afghanistan.
Human Rights Dialogue between EU and Afghanistan
On 1 June 2016 the second EU-Afghanistan Human Rights Dialogue was held in Kabul. Constructive discussions took place on a range of issues, including women's rights, children's rights, death penalty, torture, access to justice, freedom of expression and the rights of socially vulnerable and/or persons with disabilities. The outcome of the dialogue is the Table of Agreed Deliverables and Indicator. The Government and EU held a follow up meeting on the dialogue on 30 November 2016. The table of deliverables have been amended accordingly.
Human Rights Defenders
The EU and its Member States and Canada, Norway and Switzerland publicized its local strategy for Human Rights Defenders in Afghanistan 2014 on 10 December 2014. The strategy describes the various actions and protection mechanisms to support and protect Human Rights Defenders in Afghanistan.
Conference on the Implementation and Support of the National Action Plan (UNSCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security on 20 September 2015.
On 20 September, the Finnish Embassy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU Delegation in Afghanistan held a Conference on the implementation of the National Action Plan (UNSCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security.
The conference was attended by Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament, Ambassadors, Government officials and members of civil society. The participants discussed ways to better implement the National Action Plan all over the country and gave a number of recommendations in this regard.