United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
In 2019, Afghanistan saw an excessive amount of violence. From the beginning of January through September, there were over 8,000 civilian casualties. The Taliban specifically targeted some of these attacks on women and health care providers.
One organization, The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), has devoted itself to eliminating the harsh conditions of typical Afghan life. UNAMA is using its research, reporting, advocacy and engagement to tackle this endeavor.
Specifically, UNAMA aims to protect civilians from armed conflict, defend against the violation of child rights, eliminate violence against women, halt arbitrary detention and prevent torture during detention. So many civilians, women and children, in particular, experience great suffrage as a result of the violence in Afghanistan.
Despite the bleakness of 2019, UNAMA has made progress. Large-scale suicide attacks decreased by 79 percent in 2019 when compared to 2018. Torture in conflict-related detainees decreased by 7 percent as well. Maintaining the mission and engaging in strategic partnerships are key aspects to improving the living conditions of the public and at-risk Afghans. By continuing the impactful research, reporting, advocacy and strategic relationships, UNAMA is improving human rights in Afghanistan.
Human Rights Defenders
For a long while, human rights defenders have been victims of violence and intimidation within Afghanistan. Specifically, in 2019, escalated tensions surrounded human rights workers where there were specific activities of attacks and/or kidnapping. During that escalation in violence, the Taliban announced that there would be an attack on all media outlets responsible for criticizing Taliban fighters. These defenders are vital to aiding the protection of people’s human rights in Afghanistan. In turn, these defenders must also receive protection.
Response to Rising Tensions
In January 2020, at an Amnesty International event, the authorities publicly committed to protecting the defenders of human rights in Afghanistan. Other organizations that support human rights throughout the nation attended the event. All of these groups designed a strategy outlining the actions they should take to protect human rights defenders.
This support launches initiatives that will investigate attacks, respond to incidents and/or threats of attacks, offer relief to human rights defenders and enable human rights defenders to continue work without the fear of retaliation. Helping these human rights defenders is vital to changing the situation of human rights in Afghanistan. If these defenders are unable to safely complete the work, then the human rights of Afghans will never improve.
Currently, human rights in Afghanistan are in need of remarkable improvements. Organizations are aiming to develop response mechanisms and preventative strategies toward improving human rights in Afghanistan. UNAMA is aiming to utilize research, reporting, advocacy, strategic partnerships and the protection of human rights defenders to help the Afghan population.
– Jacob E. Lee