The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) held the Conference on “Human Rights and Fight against Corruption” on Wednesday, 8 November, 2017. At this Conference, in addition to the leadership of the AIHRC, a number of government officials and ambassadors from the countries supporting Afghanistan also participated. At the Conference, it was emphasized that, as long as corruption is not eliminated in the country, the increase in the security forces will not help security, and billions dollars of financial aid of the world countries cannot bring improvement and progress in the country.
The conference was held at the AIHRC headquarters in which representatives of civil society, media and justice and judicial institutions participated.
At the beginning of the Conference, Dr. Sima Samar, said that human rights values are universal, regardless of color, gender, ethnicity, language and geography. She emphasized that peace, stability and sustainable development can be possible in a country and a society where human rights are being realized. On the other hand, in the societies and countries where human rights values are not respected, there is no peace and stability, and the development process is also problematic.
The abuse by authorities and officials in the governmental and non-governmental institutions for their private and own benefits is also a form of corruption that according to the Chairperson of the AIHRC, violates the human rights of citizens of a country.
The honesty of government officials and non-state actors were another issue that Dr. Samar pointed out and said, when honesty does not exist, officials and authorities are trying to abuse their positions and take advantage of their position for their own interests, which is itself is a corruption.
The Chairperson of the AIHRC, referring to countries where human rights are violated, said that these countries are suffering from corruption. If corruption occurs, people are deprived of their human rights. Dr. Samar said: “Corruption is a violation of human rights and there is no doubt about it.”
Dr. Samar while pointing out the practical and unpleasant consequences of corruption on society and future generations said: “When a person obtains a college diploma against money and by the mediator, the result is that the engineer, doctor or teacher fails to work professionally; the patients are not being treated properly,” so the right to health, and economic rights of citizens is violated. Corruption in education and higher education also causes engineers to work unprofessionally; in such a case (for example) collapsing of a building deprives people of their right to life.
Referring to the ratification and approval of the law of demonstrations and gatherings, the Chairman of the Independent Human Rights Commission said that this law restricts the human rights of citizens, because the government is not capable of ensuring the security of the Demonstrations and, as a result, people lose their trust on the government. Dr. Samar added that ensuring human rights is the main duty of governments: “Human rights implementation is an unconditional duty of governments”. The government is empowered when to employ capable, competent and expert people. In such a case, the human right of the people will also be ensured. ”
Corruption is the cause of war:
According to the Chairperson of the AIHRC, corruption is the cause of misery, war, insecurity, and distrust of people in government institutions and damages in the process of democracy. “If competent and honest people, based on their ability and meritocracy, take the responsibility for democratic institutions, we will trust the elections,” she added. Otherwise the election itself provides grounds for corruption, fraud and insecurity.
The Chairperson of the AIHRC stressed on the fight against corruption in the judiciary organs, and said that if people are to be governed by the rule of law and justice, which is the basic right of man, the trust of the people in these institutions should be restored. Referring to people’s complaints about the non-implementation of justice, she said, when people say “the law is only applied to poor people,” it is true because they see that they are not treating equally and fairly with everyone.
Referring to the SDGs, Dr. Samar emphasized that meeting these goals has a direct relationship with human rights and the fight against corruption. She stressed that the fight against corruption is not possible until a culture of impunity exists. The government must also have a serious political will to fight corruption. “One entity cannot fight corruption alone, and this is not possible,” said Samar. Fighting corruption is a long-term task, and all institutions, including the people, must contribute to it. ”
Consequences of Corruption
Dr. Gholam Haidar Allama, Deputy Attorney General’s Office, spoke at the Conference emphasized on national and international anti-corruption mechanisms and stressed that corruption has serious consequences for the human rights of citizens of a country. He added that corruption and financial fraud is one of the crimes against human rights. Mr. Allama added that in the international arena, after the corruption became widespread in the countries, the United Nations felt responsible and started taking action concerning the fight against corruption. Among these was the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Crimes and Organized Crime that could have a negative impact on the international community beyond the borders.
Mr. Allama said that in 2003 the United Nations passed the Convention on Combating Bribery and Corruption. The convention specifically deals with corruption and called on the countries to criminalize corruption in their own country, and take on appropriate politically motivated measures to fight corruption.
Deputy Attorney General added that the Afghan government also approved at least two laws to fight corruption, and certain offices are working in this regard. He said, corruption has very dangerous and harmful consequences, because it hurts confidence in the government and discredit democracy.
According to Mr. Allama, in the corrupt countries, the government and the parliament are exposed to corruption by the mafia and criminal groups and transparency comes under question. He stressed that power in the corrupt countries would not be passed on to the market, because corrupt mafia groups would fill the entire market with counterfeit goods in their favor. He said that in corrupt countries, the power of government is not transferred to the administration either, because corrupt circles recruit individuals and turn the offices into their own interest and will.
Danish Ambassador, Mr. Jakob Brix Tange said that corruption undermines the organizational administration and cause unequal division of power and opportunities in the community. He said the Danish Dmbassy is supporting anti-corruption mechanisms in Afghanistan, and its tolerance for corruption is zero. Denmark’s Ambassador emphasized that combating corruption need involvement of strong institutions, civil society organizations, media and investigative journalists should cooperate in this regard.
Danish Ambassador added that the complete elimination of corruption is impossible, as he pointed out to the country of Denmark, saying that while the country is on the top list of transparency and anti-corruption benchmark of transparent countries, but there is still a relatively low degree of corruption in Denmark.
Mr. Tange added that corruption affects social transactions, and that social relations become fragile and then insecure. He stressed that corruption is a major obstacle to nation-building. The ambassador said the embassy supports anti-corruption programs and institutions in various areas in Afghanistan. This country, along with supporting the government anti-corruption institutions, also supports civil institutions to increase their capacity to fight corruption.
Mr. Tange said that the Danish Embassy has been supporting the fight against corruption since 2010. A recent anti-corruption strategy developed by the Afghan government is an important step in fighting corruption. He added that the Danish Embassy sponsors a program at the American University of Afghanistan, which will boost the capacity of young people and future generations in Afghanistan, especially in the area of effective administration and fight against corruption.
The Danish Ambassador emphasized that bottom-up struggle against corruption is crucial. He added, it would be very important, if people and civil society participate in the fight against corruption and constantly criticize corruption. Mr Tange said that the people should talk and criticize the government in this regard so that those involved with corruption would be identified.
In the afternoon panel, AIHRC’s Commissioners spoke on the fight against corruption. The conference continued with panels and group work until 4pm.