Incremental Peace in Afghanistan
Publication date: 
Accord issue: 
What are the human rights priorities for a peace settlement for Afghanistan, and what are the prospects for negotiating these effectively?
Three deeply contested issues are critical to negotiating human rights in a future peace settlement.
  1. Demilitarisation:agreeingtermstodemilitarise armed groups, including establishing an oversight body and securing international backing for sanctions against violators. Demobilisation provisions in the 2001 Bonn Agreement were weak. Subsequent initiatives to integrate former fighters into formal security institutions have been decidedly patchy and many militias continue to play a role in violent conflict today.
  2. Women’s rights: addressing concerns over the potential negative impact of a settlement on women’s rights. Post-2001 gains for women’s participation have been hard won and remain fragile. Gender-based fears over negative consequences of concessions made in a peace deal, such as through revision of the constitution and other legal safeguards, have been exacerbated by the lack of women in the Kabul Process
  3. Transitional justice: addressing the legacy of massive human rights violations and war crimes is key to avoid the persistence of abuses. Recent history does not augur well, such as the 2008 blanket amnesty for war crimes. While negotiating progress on transitional justice will not be easy, Afghanistan today shows the costs of failure. Acknowledging the truth about past atrocities may offer a viable entry point for meaningful progress for reconciliation.