Crackdown on Solidarity Party Appears Aimed at Quashing Public Criticism of Government

spa demo

(Kabul, May 7, 2013) – Afghan authorities should investigate the arrests and possible torture of peaceful protesters by security forces in Kabul, Human Rights Watch said today. The abuses appear intended to silence public dissent against the government.

On May 2, 2013, hundreds of people participated in a demonstration in Kabul’s Cinema Pamir neighborhood organized by the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan to protest the government’s failure to prosecute abusive warlords, including those now in official positions. State security forces cut short the protest and arrested at least nine people. Six of them described to Human Rights Watch being mistreated in custody for up to three days, including by being severely beaten with punches, kicks, and rifle butts while being interrogated about the protest organizers.

spa and lpp conference

LAHORE, Oct 7: Left-wing parties from Pakistan and Afghanistan concluded a two-day conference here on Sunday with the pledge to renew efforts for a joint struggle against the forces of imperialism and religious fundamentalism.

Speaking at a press briefing at the end of the conference, leaders of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan, the Labour Party Pakistan, the Workers Party Pakistan, the Awami Party Pakistan and the National Students Federation averred that joint struggle against imperialism and fundamentalism was essential so as “to build a genuinely democratic, secular and socialist alternative for the long-suffering working people of the region.”

Threatened suspension of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan. Islamists oppose freedom of expression

Heike Hänsel

By Heike Hänsel, Spokeswoman on development policy for the Left Party parliamentary group and Chairwoman of the German Bundestag’s Subcommittee on the United Nations, International Organisations and Globalisation

Whilst people across the world mobilised this month in support of the Russian band Pussy Riot, the global public has scant interest in the massive restrictions on freedom of expression in Afghanistan. In May 2012, the Afghan authorities acted to ban a political party for the first time since the beginning of President Hamid Karzai’s term in office. The party concerned is the left-wing Hezb-e-Hambastagi-ye Afghanistan, also known as the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan (SPA), which is an alliance of mainly young people who demonstrate against impunity for war crimes and in favour of the withdrawal of NATO troops.

On 30 April, supporters of Hezb-e-Hambastagi-ye in Kabul staged a demonstration in the context of the celebrations for “Mujahideen Victory Day”. The protesters held up portraits of Taliban and Mujahideen leaders and called for them to be held accountable for the human-rights violations they had committed. They also demanded an end to the “warlord culture” in Afghanistan.

spa protest on black days

When at the Bonn conference in 2001 Hamid Karzai was appointed Afghanistan’s interim president by his international supporters, he came to occupy this position without any local backers. He had no traditional constituency and no political party, but has been able to exert his power for the past 10 years through his strong associations with the international community, power-seeking warlords and former Taliban sympathisers, many of whom have been part of his cabinet since 2004. Despite Afghan fears that the Nato withdrawal will bring back the Taliban in the absence of a strong government, the Karzai administration has not changed the political process and structure.

Today, almost 40 years after the country’s ‘first decade of democracy’ (1963-1973), and in the aftermath of the Bonn conference that initiated the process of statebuilding in theory – the creation of a constitution followed by elections for president and parliament – Afghans are critical of the Kabul-based, centralised government’s failure to promote regional autonomy and wider political party participation. This is because after years of war and political upheaval, Afghanistan is a different country from what it was in 1978, with a majority of Afghans – the war generation eligible to vote in the next election – judging the government’s legitimacy by its actions and its dismal record on governance.

Note:
After widespread denunciation by human rights organizations and national and international bodies, Karzai’s puppet government was forced to reconsider its stand on “suspension of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan”.

KABUL (PAN): No political party in the country has been suspended, the minister of justice informed the Cabinet on Monday -- a day after a human rights group asked the Karzai administration to lift restrictions on the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan (SPA).

The suspension violated both Afghan law and the rights to the freedom of expression, association and assembly under international human rights law, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

protest on black days

KABUL (PAN): A New York-based international human rights organisation on Sunday asked the government to immediately reverse its suspension of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan (SPA) for organising a protest that called for war crimes accountability.

The suspension violated both Afghan law and the rights to the freedom of expression, association and assembly under international human rights law, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement.

On June 2, the Ministry of Justice wrote to the SPA informing it of the May 29 decision of the Meshrano Jirga, upper house of parliament, calling for the party’s suspension, pending an investigation and possible prosecution of its leaders.

photo from AP

Solidarity Party's ban comes after it accused various Afghan leaders of war crimes and as western troops prepare to withdraw

Afghanistan has suspended a political party for the first time since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, a ban diplomats and activists say is a worrying sign freedoms in the country could suffer as western troops leave, taking funds and attention with them.

The Solidarity Party angered powerful politicians with a demonstration in late April accusing a swathe of Afghan leaders, former leaders and commanders of committing war crimes over the last three decades of conflict, and demanding they be brought to justice.

photo from reutres

(New York) – The Afghan government should immediately reverse its suspension of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan for organizing a protest calling for accountability for war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. The suspension violates both Afghan law and the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly under international human rights law.

On June 2, 2012, the Ministry of Justice wrote to the Solidarity Party to inform them of the May 29 decision of the Meshrano Jirga, the upper house of the Afghan parliament, calling for the party’s suspension, pending investigation and possible prosecution of its leaders.

SPA protest on black days

The Meshrano Jirga, or upper house of parliament, on Tuesday sought the suspension of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan (SPA) for calling Mujideen’s Victory Day a day of national mourning.

During a demonstration in Kabul last month, activists of the party characterised mujideen’s victory as a black day in the country’s history. They also slammed the communist-led coup against President Daud Khan on April 28, 1978 as a black day.

After mujahideen captured Kabul in 1992, then president Dr. Najibullah was prevented from fleeing the country. He took refuge in the UN compound, where he lived until September 1996, when Taliban wrested the city from Ahmad Shah Masood.

The Taliban immediately executed Dr. Najibullah and his brother, hanging their bodies in the heart of the capital. Most of Kabul was devastated and thousands of Afghans were killed as a result of internecine fighting among mujahideen factions.

Protesters demonstrate against war criminals in Afghanistan

Several protesters on Monday demonstrated against the war crimes which took place during 27/April/1978 after the Democratic Republic Party of Afghanistan toppled down the government of Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan and 28/April/1992 after the Mujahideen toppled down the Pro-Soviet government.

The demonstration was organized by the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan where the protesters also burnt the pictures of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Democratic Republic Party leaders, Mujahideen leaders and Taliban group.

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