UNDP Support to Afghanistan to Enhance State Reporting on UN Convention against Torture
Kabul: In a major step forward towards strengthening processes designed to protect Afghan citizens from torture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), signed a letter of agreement that will enable technical and financial assistance for State reporting, with particular focus on the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) State Report.
The agreement, signed today by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ershad Ahmadi and UNDP Country Director Mr. Alvaro Rodriguez, will further bolster Afghanistan’s commitment to respect, promote and protect the fundamental human rights of its people, leading to a stronger justice and rule of law sector, and increased trust in the State on the part of Afghan women and men. The initiative is part of the cooperation between UNDP Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA) project and the Government of Afghanistan.
The Letter of Agreement will allow MoFA to engage Government stakeholders across the country for data collection and analysis involved in the State reporting process.
The Convention against Torture was ratified by Afghanistan on 17 April 1987, committing the Government to prioritize measures to eradicate torture. The UNCAT, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1984, serves as the international framework to make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world.
In recent years, the Government of Afghanistan has made efforts to increase its Justice and Rule of Law capacities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ work on the UNCAT State Report is an important milestone, as it allows the Government to reflect on its successes in preventing systemic torture, and identifies issues requiring increased focus moving forward.
In May 2013, UNDP entered a partnership with the Danish Institute of Human Rights to provide technical assistance for the UNCAT process. An international expert in State reporting, Dr. Malek Sitez, started working with MoFA in June to strengthen the long-term systems for State reporting within the Government of Afghanistan.
This partnership has developed out of the increased coordination between the Human Rights Support Unit (HRSU) in the Ministry of Justice and the Directorate of Human Rights and International Women’s Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. HRSU, established in 2010 with support from UNDP, tracks the implementation of international human rights mechanisms by the Government of Afghanistan. UNDP is also helping to establish Justice and Rule of Law Multi-Partner Trust Fund in Afghanistan, which will commence functioning in 2014, and will result in more cohesive interventions in the sector. Increased coordination between these two ministries is expected to improve the availability of accurate information and sharpen Afghanistan’s overall State reporting abilities.
UNDP’s Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan is funded by the Italian Development Cooperation Office, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Netherlands Embassy, Danish Embassy and UNDP.
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