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HRW seeks funds for Afghan education, media

HRW seeks funds for Afghan education, media

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22 Nov 2020 - 13:25
HRW seeks funds for Afghan education, media
author avatar
22 Nov 2020 - 13:25


KABUL (Pajhwok): Global donors, meeting in Geneva this week, have been urged to prioritise funding for education and health, especially for Afghan girls and women, and for independent media.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued the call ahead of the pledging conference that will discuss funding commitments at a critical time, as the war and the Covid-19 pandemic have worsened Afghanistan’s humanitarian situation.

Having imposed new conditions to curb corruption, donors are likely to announce scaling down financial assistance to Afghanistan at the conference.

In a report, HRW asked donors not to use broad restrictions on funding to compel reform, but rather focus on the lack of accountability by government officials who engaged in abusive and corrupt behaviour.

Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at HRW, called the Geneva Conference a crucial opportunity to protect gains in human rights that have allowed ordinary Afghans, in particular women and girls, to enjoy greater freedoms and better education and health.

“Talks toward ending the conflict don’t make this the time for donors to reduce funding for Afghanistan’s most vulnerable communities. Afghanistan’s future – hopefully a peaceful and rights-respecting one – depends on having an educated and healthy population,” the official remarked.

HRW also urged donors to press the Afghan government and Taliban to end abuses by their security forces, including deliberate or indiscriminate attacks on schools that violate the laws of war.

Military use of schools by both sides contravenes the Safe Schools Declaration, which Afghanistan endorsed in May 2015. Such actions have contributed to insecurity and civilian loss of life, driving countless children – mostly girls – out of school.

Healthcare workers and facilities had increasingly been under attack by both sides, HRW noted, saying humanitarian workers have had difficulty reaching populations in need.

“Donors should condemn all such interference and press the Taliban and government forces to abide by international humanitarian law prohibitions against attacks on healthcare and other humanitarian workers and facilities.”

The watchdog stressed protecting gains in media freedom was also critical. Afghanistan’s donors have long recognised the importance of protecting and strengthening independent media in the country.

“Support has diminished in recent years, however, even as the media has increasingly faced attacks by insurgents and local strongmen and efforts by the government to restrict reporting.”




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