The statement of CSHRN concerning the new government of Afghanistan and the involvement of civil society


In the name of Almighty Allah

The statement of CSHRN concerning the new government of
Afghanistan and the involvement of civil society  

28 th of December 2009 Kabul Afghanistan

On December 19, the spokesperson of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan announced during a press conference that the president had designated the members of his cabinet which got introduced to the National Assembly, in close consultation with civil society. This statement came as a great surprise for civil society. Before the members of the new cabinet were announced, CSHRN had sent an open analytical letter to the president of Afghanistan providing an analysis as well as recommendation with regard to the current human rights situation and civil society. CSHRN did its best to contact the office of the present in order to organise a meeting between the president and representatives of civil society for the submission of the letter and the discussion about the concerns of civil society. Unfortunately however, CSHRN had not received any response from the president. The open analytical letter was then released during a press conference broadly covered by national and international media.

The civil society and human rights organisations have followed up on the process of the designation of the new cabinet. Regrettably, the inputs forwarded to the president by civil society organisations were ignored. A main illustration thereof is the lack of gender balance among the newly proposed ministers. It was mentioned in the open letter that the structures and programs of the government in the economic, social, political and cultural field suffer from a lack of proper gender equality mechanisms. Furthermore it was said that for the designation of the new cabinet, the potential role Afghan women can play has to be dealt with as priority. Women composing half of the society should not become the victims of political negotiations. Civil society, human rights and women rights activists would like to ask the leadership of the government to pay great attention to activating the role of women for the future of Afghanistan.”

The civil society organisations would like to ask the president to refrain from proposing any person affiliated to warlords for the future government of Afghanistan . Unfortunately, this key message of the Afghan civil society was ignored by the president’s office. Faces of warlords can still be spotted in the new cabinet. For these reasons, we wonder how the president can say that he had organised his cabinet in close consultation with civil society.

To fight corruption was another major request from civil society to the president. Solely to exchange individuals does not have a positive enough effect on the life of citizens. We therefore ask for useful and practical strategies, mechanisms and structures to fight corruption. Civil society can play a useful role in advising the new government on fighting corruption.

Civil society of Afghanistan agrees with the goal of the international community to support the capacities of the Afghan state so that he can become a strategic partner of the international community. Such a partnership can however only be attained when the culture of human rights, the strengthening of civil society, the rule of law, and democracy are the main focus. Unfortunately, we have not yet seen a proper strategy for the institutional build-up of the Afghan government.

The Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CSHRN), which is an umbrella of civil society and human rights organisations in Afghanistan, has always forwarded inputs, analysis as well as concrete recommendations to the government in order to give support on all the above mentioned issues. According to the Afghan constitution, which clearly states the Afghan commitment to international law, the Afghan government should work for the improvement of human rights, democracy and the strengthening of civil society. However, recently, the role of the Afghan government in supporting, listening to and consulting with civil society has been limited.

CSHRN would like to ask the members of the National Assembly to have this statement strongly in mind when approving the new government.

Afghan civil society would like to ask the Afghan parliament as a valuable institution to strengthen its consultation with Afghan civil society in order to have at its disposal realistic information about the situation in Afghanistan.

CSHRN would like to ask the presidential office, advisors and colleagues of the president to take into consideration civil society of Afghanistan and to create a constructive link between the president and civil society. We believe that the office of the president should pay heed to the role of civil society concerning the strengthening of the legitimacy of the Afghan government, because civil society organisations convey the message of Afghan citizens and create a bridge between citizens and the Afghan state leadership.

Members of Civil Society & Human Rights Network

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