First of all, I would like to welcome everyone to this significant session and I’m pleased of conducting the 7th general assembly of the Civil Society & Human Rights Network of Afghanistan.
CSHRN has organized its activities based on the legitimate and effective strategy adopted by the member organizations of the network, and initiated extensive programs across the country. CSHRN’s programs have provided a very good image for the civil society and its role in promoting human rights values in the country. CSHRN has become one of the most important umbrella organizations in the field of advocacy and human rights values by planning and implementing transparent, effective and valuable programs. Constructive relations with the international community, national institutions and human rights activists demonstrate this principle.
During the last two years, CSHRN has focused its activities on the following fields:
1- Capacity building on human rights concepts and values
CSHRN has changed into an important source of learning human rights concepts by supplying and publishing the educational manuals of human rights. These educational manuals clarify the guidelines and concepts of conducting educational programs for civil society and government institutions. Some groups of instructors are being formed based on these manuals that provide the way of educating the member organizations of the network in the capital Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan .
We have provided and published three important and significant educational manuals, during the last two years.
The first educational manual had been prepared by the name of «Educational manual of transitional justice», that is the first educational manual regarding transitional justice and its related issues in Afghanistan , which was released in 5000 versions.
The second handbook is «educational manual of international human rights mechanisms». This manual, evaluates the UN mechanisms on human rights and also observe the role of the member states, civil society institutions and human rights activists in providing the national report for the international community. This manual provides the way of transparency and accountability of the Afghan government to the international community and boosts civil society’s role on human rights.
The third manual is the «educational manual of strategy» that will be published soon. This manual has focused on methods and ways of strategic programming in term of management and implementation. The «educational manual of strategy» defines and interprets the ways of monitoring, evaluating and improving the strategic programs of the institutions. The educational manual of strategy is an important resource for the civil society institutions to provide and present their strategic programs. This program will help to strengthen convergence among the civil society institutions and improve coordination in respect to human rights activities across the country.
Now, I would to thank my dearest partners, who responsibly cooperated in preparing and providing the mentioned educational manuals, Zarqa Yaftaly, Sediqa Nawrozyan, Soheila Weda Khamoosh, Ahmad Jawid Shikeeb, Hussein Saramad, Ehsan Qaneh, Yahya Amaar, Zia Mubalegh and Mujtaba Rasooly.
During the last two years, the Civil Society & Human Rights Network of Afghanistan has conducted 84 training workshops in Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan . 2953 men and 891 women had participated in these educational programs. The network has also held 74 discourses in the past two years, which were attended by 2005 participants including 1000 women amongst them.
There is no doubt that the educational programs of CSHRN had a very positive impact on generalizing the Human Rights values in the country.
During the recent two years, CSHRN has initiated some important national advocacy programs. For instance, «the law of access to information» is one of the mentioned programs provided by the network in the country.
For the first time, some discourses and educational programs on access to information were launched by the Civil Society & Human Rights Network of Afghanistan across the country.
As a significant pillar, access to information can play an important role democracy in generalizing the culture of citizenship’s rights in the country. That’s why the network has been evaluating the right of access to information through some national seminars and conferences across the country and made it a precious discourse in the country.
Holding an educational symposium in Mazar city in 2009, hade paved the way for legitimating the right of access to information in the country.
After doing a research and an analysis regarding the importance of access to information, The Symposium proposed creating a working group that should prepare the first draft law of access to information through a constructive dialogue with the Civil Society, media, academic and intellectual institutions. The working group was established and prepared the first draft law of access to information within one year that was discussed widely in the country. The second symposium on access to information, which was attended by some members of the national assembly, has provided more legitimacy for the draft law of access to information. Thus, the viewpoints of the Civil Society, universities, media, intellectuals & human rights activists have been summarized and attached along with the mentioned draft by the working group. The draft law on access to information was evaluated by the ministry of information & culture and the High Council of Media and for legal process was sent to the ministry of justice.
The second major task carried out in the field of advocacy, is the campaign of reducing violence against women in Herat province. This program has resulted from « analyzing symposium on family violence» held in Herat . Based on the recommendations of this symposium, a group of prominent experts of Herat have been assigned by CSHRN to prepare & publish a book by the name of «Family violence, its factors and ways to deal with». Through presenting their recommendations the group has proposed some educational programs and constructive dialogues on provinces regarding the causes of violence and what to do in respect to that. Hence, a campaign of awareness raising, capacity building and coordination has been conducted by the Civil Society & Human Rights Network of Afghanistan. It took one year to organize the campaign and during this period CSHRN has released two analyses on family violence in Herat province. Based on the recommendations of these analyses, the committee of reducing family violence has been constituted by the participation of civil society institutions, media, Independent Human Rights Commission, provincial council and governmental institutions, which was dealing with violence against women and implemented various important programs for reducing the family violence in the provinces.
During the last two years, the third significant advocacy program of the network has been conducted by the name of «strengthening women’s role in peace-building process in Afghanistan » including comprehensive conferences across the zones in the country.
At the end of the program, the resolutions issued in zone level conferences, were unified during the National Conference conducted in this regard that was attended by the representatives of provincial councils, women departments, civil society institutions, human rights activists, peace activists, universities, intellectuals and religious scholars from 34 provinces of the country, and some definite recommendations have been presented to the address of the national and international organizations.
It’s to be mentioned that the initiation of these programs took less than a month, which itself reveals the wide relationships and capacity building of CSHRN.
Monitoring Human Rights Situation and on time reaction regarding that
The network has always monitored the human rights situation in the country and reacted against the various human rights violation on time, which has been reflected through the national and international media. The functions of the statement committee are commendable in this regard.
I was also one the member of the statement committee, and would like to thanks and appreciate my colleagues, Mr. Malek Sitez, Mr. Jawid Shikeb, Younis Akhtar, Najeeba Ayobi, Barry Salaam and Khan Ali Radmand, for their non-tiring and considerable efforts.
The statement committee has issued 13 statements against the human rights violation, during the past two years.
These statements were widely reflected through the national and international esteem media and have been considered valuable for advocating human rights values in the country.
During the last two years, the civil society and human rights network of Afghanistan has made its untiring efforts, to establish a good coordination among its member organizations and provide convergence for generalizing human rights values in the country. Coordinating programs have become the key strategic issues of CSHRN.
The network has extended its activities to the Southeastern part of the country last year, and opened its new branch in Khost province. During the last year, the network has also, established its focal points in Kandahar , Helmand , Kunar, Faryab, Kundoz, Daikundi, Panjshir and Logar provinces. We would like to expand our programs more and more and pave the way for their implementation across the country.
During the last two years, the numbers of CSHRN’s member organizations have been increased from 75-122 member organizations, which indicate the effectiveness of CSHRN’s activities across the country. It’s mentionable that «the committee of overseeing the membership» has introduced the new member organizations based on the required standards, to the Civil Society & Human Rights Network of Afghanistan. I would like to thank my respected Colleagues in this committee; Ms Wazhma Rahimzay, Mr. Ehsan Qaaneh, Ms. Madeena Hikmat, Mr. Samad Hakimi and Mr. Rezayee, who regularly attended in meetings and sessions of this committee and played their important and constructive roles. The standard assessment of the organizations applied for membership with the Civil Society & Human Rights Network, indicates the active role of this committee in the structure of the network.
CSHRN has endeavored in establishing coordination with the government agencies too. The representatives of the network have cooperated with the government agencies as ministry of justice, interior affairs, culture and information, mines and industries and ministry of labor & social affairs in their esteem meetings and sessions, like Loya Jirga (the great council), national conferences and policy making meetings.
During the last two years, CSHRN’s representatives have also participated in some important meetings with the president and his cabinet regarding better and more coordination and advocacy for the Civil Society.
The network has made efforts to provide more and more coordination among the Civil Society, international institutions and the international community, via conducting some constructive dialogues during the recent two years. There were two main purposes behind these meetings.
Firs, conformity and convergence with the international community.
Second, advocacy for human rights values throughout the world.
During the last two years, Civil Society & Human Rights Network of Afghanistan had 274 meetings with the representative of the international community. Some of these meetings have been conducted with presidents, prime ministers and high ranked delegations of the Afghan international supporters. These meetings have played an important role in introducing the network as one of the key national organizations in the country.
The Civil Society & Human Rights Network of Afghanistan has actively attended the two important international conferences, Bonn and Tokyo , in two recent years. In both of these two conferences, the network had tried its best to advocates for human rights values and create a better coordination with the international community, through presenting its points of views, statements and constructive messages. It’s mentionable that the network had provided its constructive recommendations & suggestions to the address of the international community during these conferences, which were warmly welcomed and appreciated by our international partners.
4- Awareness raising programs
During the last two years, the network has become one of the important institutions in awareness rising in relation to the human rights values, civil society, democracy and the rule of law. CSHRN has endeavored to pursue human rights discourses in different levels, through some programs as radio program «the voice» publishes «Angaara» magazine and a special page of CSHRN in Killid magazine. Through these three media the network could issue educational, analysis and research programs, topics, dialogues and introduction of human rights advocates and women rights defenders. Network’s website has played a considerable role in this field. In 2011 and 2012 around 126912 pages have been visited & read by 42947 visitors across the world. The network’s website is continuously updated and publishes the network’s activities in Farsi, Pashtu and English languages. An online radio program can also be accessed from the website.
During this period, CSHRN’s partners have played a very precious role through their active participation in national and international media in relation to awareness rising about human rights values in, rule of law and democracy.
5- Monitoring Human Rights Situation
Monitoring human rights situation is one the recent, but significant activities of CSHRN. The Civil Society and Human Rights Network of Afghanistan established a Human rights consultative board last year. The board will assess the human rights situation in coordination with the secretariat of CSHRN. The secretariat of CSHRN coordinates its views and ideas regarding human rights in Kabul and provinces with the consultative board. Based on this program, CSHRN’s secretariat organizes some questionnaires through which evaluates human rights situation in dialogues with the citizens in the country. These questionnaires discuss the human rights violations and uncertainties in simple language with the citizens. The outcome will provide the way for a realistic analysis of human rights situation in the country. This analysis provides recommendations to the national and international society to improve the human rights situation in Afghanistan and disclose the outlaws and human rights violators. The Civil Society and Human Rights Network of Afghanistan has prepared the first analysis of human rights situation last year, and will be accessible soon after the assessment of the consultative board for the member organizations, national and international society.
We have experienced many challenges in the last two years. Lake of security was the main challenge against us. Some of our partners could not implement their programs in remote provinces and rural areas, because of insecurity in the country.
Another challenge or shortage is financial scarcity of civil society institutions. During the recent two years, we made our efforts to conduct some programs with international organization for supporting our member organizations, but unfortunately civil society institutions still suffers from lake of financial supports, and as a result we will not be able to implement some huge and crucial programs in many provinces of Afghanistan.
Lake of capacity is another challenge among the civil society institutions. Most of the time we lost some of our colleagues hired in many fields that will induce to decrease the effectiveness of our role.
The other challenge is threat against our colleague’s citizenship rights. A number of our partners have been threatened and prosecuted for expressing their religious ideas and views that will limit the effectiveness of human rights activists in the country.
I hope to get the opportunity to tackle and remove the above mentioned challenges during the years ahead, together by sustained efforts and hardworking.
At the end, I would like to thank the respected members of the board, Ms. Soraya Parlika, Ms. Selay Ghafar, Mr. Malek Sitez, Mr. Qasim Rahmani, Mr. Hayatullah Jawad, Mr. Abdulsatar Khalil, Ms. Razia Husaini, Ms. Gulsom Sediqi, Mr. Ajmal Balochzada, Mr. Jawad Darwazyan, Mr. Alishir Rastagar and Mr. Zahir and other executive section’s colleagues and member organizations for their continues commitments and efforts in their given tasks.
Thanks for your attention
Expecting generalization of the rule of law, human rights and democracy in the country!