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Item 6 Consideration of UPR Reports – Adoption of the Report of the UPR Working Group on Afghanistan
September 24, 2009

Statement by the Delegation of the United States
Delivered by Courtney Musser

Geneva, September 24, 2009

Thank you Mr. President.

We welcome the chance to comment on Afghanistan’s engagement with the UPR process, as seen in the report of the Working Group.

The United States commends Afghanistan’s efforts to enhance the capacity of national human rights institutions, including the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. We also welcome the adoption of national strategies and policies to support human rights, including the Afghan National Development Strategy and the Transitional Justice Strategy and Action Plan on Peace, Justice and Reconstruction. We encourage Afghanistan to fully implement these strategies.

We strongly support the recommendations in the report regarding the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality. We encourage the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan. We appreciate Afghanistan’s expressed commitment to protect and promote women’s rights, to enforce gender mainstreaming in governmental institutions, and to strengthen the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. We share the concerns of a number of delegations in the Working Group about the situation of women and girls. We are encouraged by the very strong, well-drafted and comprehensive domestic violence law that President Karzai recently signed. However, we share concerns about flaws in the recently published Shi’a Family Law, which is, nonetheless, an improvement from a previous version.

We note the concern of several delegations about intimidation and violence against journalists and limitations on freedom of expression, and we support the recommendations to ensure the independence of the media. We encourage Afghanistan to pass a media law.

We note Afghanistan’s efforts to improve the capacity of its justice sector and welcome the efforts to establish a Human Rights Unit in the Ministry of Justice. We support the recommendations in the Working Group report that encourage further steps to ensure an effective, independent and impartial judicial system that upholds human rights.

Thank you, Mr. President.