Before the NATO summit began on Afghanistan in Chicago, human rights activists and organizations asked Afghan government and its allies to recognize needs related to promoting human rights and ensure them following the 2014 withdrawal. Since Afghanistan's problems have always been overshadowed by violence, insecurity and war, issues related to human rights, democracy and constitutionalism is more or less isolated.
The government of Afghanistan has signed several international treaties on human rights and has made commitments to observe and promote it. However, human rights activists have expressed serious concerns over the deteriorating human rights status in the country. State institutions are yet too weak to understand and practice human rights aptly.
Alike other areas, international organizations have been implementing short term projects to introduce, promote and ingrain human rights across government institutions. Despite some short term results gained through foreign-funded human rights projects, the country remains too far to meet the overall objective on human rights.
With the new regime in power in Afghanistan following the US-led attacks against Taliban in late 2001, human rights emerged as vital elements to get institutionalized. The Bonn Agreement of 2001 established the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) as a national human rights institution to protect and promote human rights and to investigate human rights abuses and war crimes.
The Afghanistan Constitution of 2004 entrenched the existence of the AIHRC and clearly recognized human rights values. While the ongoing turmoil, violence and reconstruction efforts often make it difficult to get an accurate sense of what is going on, various reports from NGO's have accused various branches of the Afghan government of engaging in human rights violations. Since the social culture in Afghanistan is based on some non-democratic principles and the country has undergone a long period of tyranny and despotism, human rights are somewhat deemed as imported values.
The contradiction between some Afghan social and cultural benchmarks and the human rights remain unanswered. The government has taken some essential steps to introduce human rights but a long way remains ahead to approach the international standards. So, alike security, human rights also call for international community's long term presence in Afghanistan.
A premature withdrawal and a possible isolation of Afghanistan will provide enough opportunities for the anti-human rights groups to flourish. To save human rights, the world needs to lay out the required mechanisms and guarantees for the time they will have left Afghanistan.