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Commission statement on Afghanistan

Commission Commission – General

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

A statement from the Australian Human Rights Commission:

The Australian Human Rights Commission is deeply concerned about the unfolding situation in Afghanistan and the critical human rights threat to the Afghan people, and in particular Afghan women and girls, from the resurgence of Taliban control of the country.

Commission President Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM welcomed the news that the Australian government was developing a multi-faceted response to the crisis, and Australian Foreign Minister Payne’s remarks that the Australian government was working to assist Australian citizens, permanent residents and visa holders in Afghanistan.

“My colleagues and I are deeply concerned about reports of the situation in Afghanistan,” said Professor Croucher.

“It is clear that the fundamental human rights of women in Afghanistan to have access to education, employment, and freedom from sexual violence, are now under serious threat.”

Professor Croucher said she had written to Minister Payne on Monday 16 August about the Commission’s concerns, particularly regarding the safety of staff of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).

The AIHRC is a member of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF), of which Professor Croucher is the current Chair.

At particular risk were AIHRC staff members who are women and working in regional offices, Professor Croucher said, and urged the Australian government to consider assisting the staff of the AIHRC with safe passage out of Afghanistan.