War Victims Build Movement for Justice – March 30-31, 2011

Representatives of civilian war victims associations from all over Afghanistan will gather in Kabul March 30-31 to share their experiences and strengthen the national war victims’ movement at a moment when civilian deaths are increasing and justice is at risk of being sacrificed for political expediency.

The two-day conference is being organized by the Transitional Justice Coordination Group (TJCG), a leading civil society coalition that advocates for the rights of victims of war and oppression. In May of last year, the TJCG held a ‘Victims Jirga,’ Afghanistan’s first ever national gathering of civilian war victims and their advocates after more than three decades of armed conflict.

The March 2011 conference will build on the achievements of the Victims Jirga by strengthening cooperation between victims’ groups in different regions and building trust among victims from different eras of conflict and segments of Afghan society.

Activists will be updated on pressing human rights issues and political developments affecting transitional justice, including the implementation of the government’s reconciliation and reintegration plan.

Parliamentarians, members of provincial councils and international experts will also be in attendance.

The conference is supported by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), the Estonian Embassy, the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Open Society Afghanistan (OSI), and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).

Conference Time: 8:30am to 4:00pm, March 30 – 31, 2011

Venue: Kabul University Road, in front of Ministry of Higher Education- Mowj Mursal Hotel.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Simultaneous translation into English will be provided during the conference. Special interview opportunities with the participants of the conference will be possible during the tea and lunch breaks. Please confirm your presence in advance. For more information, contact tjcgafghanistan[at]gmail[dot]com or 0777315029

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Wave of Civilian Casualties Underscores Importance of Victims’ Rights in Peace Process

Kabul, February 27, 2011

Responding to the recent wave of deadly attacks against civilians, the Transitional Justice Coordination Group (TJCG), a leading Afghan civil society coalition, Sunday called for the Afghan government and international community to take immediate action to ensure that human rights are protected in national peacebuilding. The coalition also called for an end to air strikes in populated areas and the extension of due process to individuals held on suspicion of involvement in crimes of war. Continue reading

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The Statement of the One-Day Conference on Justice and Reconciliation

Kabul, November 10, 2010

Several decades of war, instability, and persistent insecurity in Afghanistan has made the
need for sustainable peace urgent and necessary particularly as the level of safety has
become progressively deteriorated. Continuation of war and insecurity has not only
destroyed the socio-political fabric of society, but has had a drastic psychological impact
on the people of Afghanistan.

Today, when thinking and talking of peace, we should pay more attention to healing the
social and psychological wounds of society, as sustainable peace cannot be achieved
without paying attention to the needs of victims. Therefore, addressing issues of justice
should be a priority in the process of strengthening peace in the country given that justice
is as integral to sustainable peace as security. Continue reading

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Open Letter to the Participants of the Kabul Conference (Dari)

نامه سرگشاده گروه عدالت انتقالی به اشتراک کننده گان کنفرانس کابل

شما ما را نمی شنوید!

13 جولای 2010

خانم ها، آقایان

چشم پوشی از عدالت در روند ایجاد صلح نه تنها کمک به ایجاد صلح نمی کند بلکه خود عاملی برای تداوم نا امنی، جنگ و خشونت، می باشد. یکی از دلایل دهه های متمادی و پایان ناپذیر جنگ در افغانستان، بی عدالتی بوده است. ایجاد جامعه ای استوار بر ارزشها و کرامت انسانی مستلزم تعمیق و ترویج فرهنگ مسئولیت پذیری و پاسخگویی می باشد؛ در حالی که دامن زدن به فرهنگ معافیت و مصونیت و عدم پاسخگویی به جنایات فاجعه بار گذشته و حال و بی اعتنایی به خواست دادخواهانه میلیونها قربانی برجای مانده از دهه های متمادی جنگ نه تنها ما را در مسیر صلح رهنمون نخواهد کرد بلکه بیم آن می رود که شعله های جنگ را افروخته تر سازد. ما باور داریم تا زمانی که عدالت تحقق نیابد، هیچ صلحی در افغانستان پایدار نخواهد بود. تجربه چندین مصالحه حکومتی در سه دهه اخیر، به روشنی پیامدهای زیانبار رویکردهای کوته اندیشانه همچون ” صلح قبل از عدالت” را برای روند دولت – ملت سازی نشان داده است Continue reading

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Open Letter to the Participants of the Kabul Conference – You Do Not Hear Us!

13 July, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ignoring justice on the road to peace will not help create peace, but rather serve as a means of perpetuating insecurity, war and violence. Injustice has been one of the causes of unending decades-long war in Afghanistan. Creating a society based on human values and dignity requires the promotion and institutionalization of the culture of accountability. Promotion of the culture of impunity and unaccountability for atrocities of the past and the present and inattentiveness to demands for justice of millions of victims of several decades of war will not lead us down the path of peace; it is only likely to further ignite the flames of war. We believe that no peace will ever last in Afghanistan so long as justice has not been implemented. The experience of several government-level compromises over the course of the past three decades has clearly illustrated the harmful consequences of short-sighted approaches such as “peace before justice” for the state building process. Continue reading

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Media Campaign – “These Attitudes Will Not Reconcile Afghanistan”

Image via TJCG member The Killid Group.

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Media Campaign – “Silence Will Not Reconcile Afghanistan”

Image via TJCG member The Killid Group.

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Statement on the Upcoming Kabul Conference

28 June, 2010

The Transitional Justice Co-ordination Group, comprising 26 national and international organisations, calls on representatives at the upcoming Kabul Conference to commit to ensuring that justice forms the cornerstone of any moves towards peace in Afghanistan.

A durable peace cannot be achieved in our country without a thorough investigation of the painful and violent past, and without seeking justice and ending the culture of impunity. We therefore call on the international community and the Government of Afghanistan to adhere to the following:

  1. We call on the United Nations Security Council to oversee the investigation and review of individuals currently on the UN blacklist. Removing individuals from the blacklist without a transparent review process would be rewarding those implicated for their alleged crimes and undermines the rule of law in Afghanistan.
  2. Detainees held without charge must be given a fair and transparent review process. The rights of detainees to due legal process must be respected. The current refusal to extend habeas corpus to these prisoners is not only against the laws of this country but also strengthens the culture of impunity and undermines the independence of judiciary.
  3. The Constitution is the highest legal authority in the country. Therefore, mechanisms to achieve peace recommended by the Peace Jirga should be consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
  4. Recommendations of the Peace Jirga should be put to a referendum before being implemented.
  5. Individuals suspected or accused of war crimes and human rights violations should be investigated and prosecuted when there is credible evidence.
  6. We call on international governments to support calls to amend or repeal the Amnesty Law. The commitment of the international community to upholding human rights in Afghanistan should be clear and consistent. The Government of Afghanistan has an obligation to honour its constitutional commitments as well as honour its international obligations.

The Transitional Justice Co-ordination Group convened the Victims Jirga for Justice on 09 May 2010 in order to raise the demands of war victims and to ensure their voices are heard in any proposed peace process. The event brought together more than a hundred representatives of victims groups across Afghanistan, representing war-affected individuals from every phase of conflict during the past three decades.

This statement is a translation of the original text in Dari.

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Statement on the Upcoming Kabul Conference (Dari)

7 سرطان 1389 (28 ژوئن 2010)
گروه هماهنگی عدالت انتقالی، شامل 26 سازمان ملی و بین المللی، از نمایندگان کنفرانس آینده کابل می خواهد تعهد کنند که عدالت بنیاد اصلی هر حرکتی به سوی صلح در افغانستان را تشکیل خواهد داد.
صلح پایدار در کشور ما بدون تحقیق کامل و جامع در باره گذشته ¬ی درناک و خشونت آمیز و بدون طلب عدالت و پایان دادن به فرهنگ معافیت از مجازات به دست نخواهد آمد. بنابراین از جامعه بین المللی و دولت افغانستان می خواهیم به موارد زیر پایبند باشند:
1 ـ از شورای امنیت سازمان ملل می خواهیم بر تحقیق و بررسی در باره افراد حاضر در لیست کنونی سیاه سازمان ملل نظارت کند. کنار گذاشتن افراد از لیست سیاه بدون بررسی شفاف به معنای دادن پاداش به کسانی است که متهم به جنایت هستند و حاکمیت قانون را در افغانستان به خطر خواهد انداخت.
2 ـ پرونده بازداشت شدگانی که بدون اتهام در زندان به سر می برند، باید عادلانه و شفاف مورد بررسی قرار بگیرد. به حق بازداشت شدگان برای رسیدگی قضایی باید احترام گذاشته شود. محرومیت کنونی این زندانیان از حق حضور در دادگاه و اعتراض به قرار بازداشت نه تنها برخلاف قوانین این کشور است، بلکه فرهنگ معافیت از مجازات را تقویت می کند و استقلال قوه قضاییه را به خطر می اندازد.
3 ـ قانون اساسی بالاترین مرجع قانونی در کشور است. بنابراین، راه کارهای دست یافتن به صلح به توصیه جرگه صلح باید با روح و نص قانون اساسی سازگار باشد.
4 ـ توصیه های جرگه صلح پیش از اجرا باید به رفراندم گذاشته شود.
5 ـ افرادی که مظنون یا متهم به جنایت های جنگی و نقض حقوق بشر هستند در صورت وجود مدارک معتبر باید مورد تحقیق و پیگرد قرار بگیرند.
6 ـ ما از دولت های دیگر می خواهیم از خواست اصلاح یا لغو قانون عفو حمایت کنند. تعهد جامعه بین المللی به رعایت حقوق بشر در افغانستان باید روشن و ثابت باشد. دولت افغانستان موظف است تعهدات خود در قانون اساسی و تعهدات بین المللی خود را محترم بشمارد.
گروه هماهنگی عدالت انتقالی جرگه قربانیان را در روز 19 جوزا 1389 (9 مه 2010) برگزار کرد تا خواست های قربانیان جنگ را مطرح کند و از شنیده شدن صدای آنها در هرگونه فرایند صلح پیشنهادی مطمئن شود. در این کنفرانس بیش از یک صد نماینده ی گروه های قربانیان و جنگ زدگان تمام مراحل منازعه در سه دهه اخیر از سراسر افغانستان شرکت داشتند.

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The Victims’ Jirga

We’re not seeking to wash blood with blood!

The Transitional Justice Coordination Group (TJCG), consisting of 25 national and international civil society organisations, organised a one-day conference under the heading “Victims Jirga for Justice” on 9th May 2010. Victims from across Afghanistan, representatives of the foreign media as well as the domestic media attended the conference, where for the first time the voices of victims were heard by the officials and the people.

More than 100 victims of various wars and violent conflicts of the past nearly four decades from different parts of the country attended the conference. Victims from the Communist era (1978 – 1992), civil wars (1992 – 1996), Taliban (1996 – 2001) and the present era (2002 onwards) spoke of their bitter memories about losing relatives, imprisonment and torture.

In the past few months, following the London Conference on Afghanistan (28 January 2010)  “Peace Jirga”, an extensive Afghanistan-wide traditional consultative assembly, came to be frequently mentioned. At the London Conference, President Karzai offered his proposals for talks with the armed opponents of the government. The absence of transparent information expected from the government on the agenda and objectives of the Peace Jirga and the memory of previous “Jirgas” throughout the history of Afghanistan and increased concerns, prompted the various civil society organisations and popular groups to seek to bring their views on peace and the Jirga to the attention of the government and the international community. Hence, the Victims Jirga took shape. Continue reading

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