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Archive for March, 2017

They said their children are also being deprived of an education as they have no formal school building.

Source: Tolo

Members of the Sikh and Hindu community in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Wednesday said that they are trying to leave the country after having had their land and property confiscated by powerful elements in the area.

They said that their problems don’t only stop there and have now resulted in their children being deprived of an education.

But, officials in the province have said that the local administration is committed to addressing the plight of the Hindu and Sikh community.

“Schools will be built for these students; seven million Afs has been allocated for it; the project will start next month. The governor has also met their representatives about their problems,” said a Nangarhar provincial official, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai.

The Sikh and Hindu community has also said that their people are discriminated against. They called on the Afghan government to take steps to secure their lives and social status.

“In the past there were schools for our children and they were learning, but now they have no schools and cannot learn, we want that. We want our children to get access to education” said another Sikh, Ranjit Singh.

“Our children are learning inside the temple because of the lack of a school building, but it is difficult to continue like this because religious ceremonies are observed there,” said another Sikh, Manor Singh.

Community members also claim their land is simply being usurped.

“For instance, the lands which are grabbed have three documents, but when a Hindu or Sikh citizen consults a department, they are told that this land needs several other documents,” said a Sikh resident in Nangarhar Rajbir Singh.

According to statistics, in the past there were around 10,000 Hindu and Sikh families living in Nangarhar, but now the figure has dropped to only about 150 families.

 

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The report says while media reported independently throughout the year, often openly criticizing the government, full press freedoms were lacking.

Source: Tolo

Endemic violence in Afghanistan continues to be fueled by serious societal divisions, The United States Department of State has said in its report on Human Rights Practices for 2016.

The report sets out what is termed “most significant human rights problems in Afghanistan” as the main cause of the widespread violence in the country.

This includes:

•      indiscriminate attacks on civilians by armed insurgent groups;

•      armed insurgent groups’ killings of persons affiliated with the government;

•      torture and abuse of detainees by government forces;

•       widespread disregard for the rule of law and little accountability for those who committed human rights abuses; and

•      targeted violence and endemic societal discrimination against women and girls.

The report says that ethnic tensions between various groups continued to result in conflict and killings.

“Societal discrimination against Shia Hazaras continued along class, race, and religious lines in the form of extortion of money through illegal taxation, forced recruitment and forced labor, physical abuse, and detention,” the report says.

The report says that according to NGOs, the government frequently assigned Hazara ANP officers to symbolic positions with little authority within the Ministry of Interior. NGOs also reported Hazara ANSF officers were more likely than non-Hazara officers to be posted to insecure areas of the country.

The US report adds Sikhs and Hindus faced discrimination, including unequal access to government jobs and harassment in school, as well as verbal and physical abuse in public places. According to the Sikh and Hindu Council of Afghanistan, there were approximately 900 members of the Sikh and Hindu community in the country.

The report says while media reported independently throughout the year, often openly criticizing the government, full press freedoms were lacking.
At times authorities used pressure, regulations, and threats to silence critics, the report says.

“Politicians, security officials, and others in positions of power arrested, threatened, or harassed journalists because of their coverage. Freedom of speech and an independent media were even more constrained at the provincial level, where many media outlets had links to specific personalities or political parties, to include former mujahedin military leaders who owned many of the broadcasting stations and print media and influenced their content,” the report adds.

In February, after the president issued a decree to implement current media laws and strengthen freedom of expression, the executive created a committee to investigate cases of violence against journalists. The committee met multiple times in the first half of the year and identified 432 cases eligible for investigation. The committee sent the cases to the appropriate government institutions associated with the violations for investigation, including the Ministry of Interior and NDS forces.

As of September, none of the government institutions had started an investigation or provided a response to the committee, the report mentions.
According to the report, girls under age 18 continue to be at risk for honor killings for perceived sexual relations outside of marriage, running away, not accepting a forced marriage, or being a victim of sexual assault.

The report says although pornography is a crime, child pornography is not specifically identified under the law. Exploiting a child for sexual purposes, often associated with bacha baazi, was widespread, although some aspects of this practice are separate crimes under the penal code.

The report indicates that the Law on Prohibition of Children’s Recruitment in the Military became effective last year but despite that there were reports about children used in military and were recruited by Taliban as well as a number of pro-government commanders.

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