Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

The Racial Discrimination Persists in Afghanistan

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The Racial Discrimination Persists in Afghanistan

About two years ago, a racist plan was divulged from Department of the Presidential Administration that had attempted to deliberately prevent from the entry or recruitment of individuals belonging to other ethnic groups in government administrative positions. This plan or a racist guide was prepared by a presidential officer who accidentally or mistakenly sent the plan to different staff members whom eventually leaked to public and private media. This issue created a lot of controversy throughout the country including social media networks and overall public atmosphere of Afghanistan; after some arguments the mentioned person dismissed from his duty but his legal case remained invisible from the eyes of local press.
Luckily, there was news in recent days that he was sentenced to two years’ reprieved imprisonment. However, there can be raised a lot questions about the proportionality of the sentence with the subject matter of the crime. If the case is really true and the person have proposed such a plan to the administration or members of the particular office, then it should not be limited to two years of suspended imprisonment. He should have been seriously punished by the court so that we may not see farther discriminatory behavior at least in the modern Afghanistan. As the amount of punishment depends on intensity of crime and its judgment is the job of judiciary system no one should intervene to it.
But unluckily, the occurrence of such cases show an undeniable fact that still there is ethnic, linguistic, religious, and regional discrimination in various forms at all levels and areas, especially in the administrative contexts of Afghanistan. Although the main infrastructure of discrimination has a long historical background and a large part of it is the legacy of past authoritarian and tribal systems. But the ethnocentric approach which leaked two years ago showed a kind of deliberate discrimination which consciously applied in the heart of country. However, it does not necessarily mean that discrimination is originated from a certain individuals or address. Therefore, no one should be deviated when political rivals label discriminatory behavior against each and other; in fact, discrimination phenomenon has vast structural dimensions in Afghanistan comprising everywhere and every level.
So far, the political culture and administrative norm in the country is in a way when someone takes the incumbency of any public office, he consideres it like a windfall profits and instrument for making more wealth. Instead of implementing meritocracy criteria, he tries to apply racial criteria, especially in the hiring process. He does not trust on the people who are not related to their own tribe and even consider others as strangers; therefore, he would attempt to hire the individuals who belong to his own tribe and eliminate the presence of those who are related to other ethnic groups. Consequently, the public departments would become the ethnic group’s debarments not a place for an expert team; on the other hand, the public departments are largely become a ground for ethnic political, and corruption issues.
To overcome this apparent discrimination, the president ordered the Ministry of Justice to establish a non-discrimination law under the authority of the second vice president. Accordingly, non-discrimination law was drafted and sent to the relevant institutions for process but so far, there is no news of its implementation. As a result, frequent hidden and unhidden cases are repeated in the country. Few days ago, we witnessed a fresh case happened in Helmand province. Rasooli, who won the post of director general of women affairs through free competition, but a group of people, launched demonstration for why their new director is Hazara. Rasooli said, she could not succeed to start her job due to the mentioned reason though she had a formal decree from president to be introduced in that position. She added that protestors are backed by certain powerbrokers as they pick and drop protestors up to women department in Helmand province.
Thus, the conviction case of the person who produced the nationalist guidelines in the country’s offices by the judicial authorities once again sparked injustice and discrimination in Afghan offices. Now, it is the duty of the government to think for a fundamental solution to end the injustice and inequality at least in the Afghan administrative contexts. Deliberate discrimination is not only a kind of betray to the nation but also a betray to their own tribe. Many of youths during school and university programs do not work hard because they are sure of having supporters to be hired. This way, they get used to grow lazy and low qualified uneducated.
By and large, the persistence of discrimination has caused a lot of hatreds and social unrest in the country. If we put a glance at the social media networks we can easily come to realize the level of distrust and dissatisfaction amongst the young generation which is extremely bad for integration of our people as nation. The benevolent leaders and thinkers of this land should accept that temporary political tricks cannot work as a solution for such national issues.  Social justice and ethnical equality are the underlying principles for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice and equality when we promote rights of minority groups, gender equality, children and other vulnerable people. In fact, we will never achieve national unity by slogans unless truly remove all barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability in the country.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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