HRW calls for Afghan HR Commissioner's dismissal for openly denouncing women

Kabul, July 4 (ANI): President Hamid Karzai should immediately dismiss Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) member Abdul Rahman Hotak, who Karzai recently appointed, following Hotak's statements expressing opposition to Afghanistan's Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Human Rights Watch said today.

Afghanistan's Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women is known as the EVAW Law.

Hotak told the New York Times that "The people who have written that law do not know Afghanistan and Afghan society very well - perhaps they think Kabul is Afghanistan." He told Reuters that in his view the EVAW Law is "violating Islam" and there needs to be a law that people are "comfortable" with.

Hotak previously served as a member of the Taliban government that was in power until 2001 and pursued practices that routinely violated and restricted the fundamental rights of women. President Karzai appointed Hotak, along with four other new commissioners, to the AIHRC in June 2013.

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, both criticized the appointments for failing to comply with the standards required of appointments to national human rights institutions, under human rights norms.

Afghanistan's 2009 EVAW Law criminalizes abuses of women, including rape, child marriage, forced marriage, sale of women, and domestic violence, and in many cases is the first Afghan law to do so. While enforcement of the law has been slow and uneven, the law is widely recognized as one of the most important achievements in the effort to rebuild women's rights in Afghanistan in the post-Taliban era.

"There were many questions about Mr. Hotak's suitability for this job - and Mr. Hotak has just answered them," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "President Karzai has appointed a fox to guard the henhouse. The only solution is for him to be removed and replaced with a new commissioner who will actually protect human rights."

Representatives of donor nations met in Kabul this week to discuss follow up to the July 2012 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan. At the Tokyo Conference, the Afghan government and donors agreed on a "Mutual Accountability Framework" that would govern future aid contributions to Afghanistan. As part of that framework, the Afghan government, in return for donor assistance, pledged to enforce the EVAW Law and to allow the AIHRC to perform its functions. (ANI)

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