HRW wants SPA suspension lifted

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.

“The governments shouldn’t suspend a political party simply because they don’t like the party’s positions or statements,” remarked Brad Adams, HRW Asia director. “All Afghans have the right to peacefully express their views, whether others agree with them or not.”

Under the relevant Afghan law, a party may be dissolved only by courts upon the request of the minister of justice and on the grounds of using or threatening to use violence, affiliation with armed forces and when it violates the law.

No court order was obtained by the Ministry of Justice to dissolve the party, the HRW noted, insisting:

“The law does not provide for suspension of political parties.”

SPA had been a registered political party since 2004 and had not fielded political candidates, but had been vocal on issues, including organising street protests against the United States and NATO’s presence in Afghanistan, execution of Afghans in Iran and civilian casualties caused by foreign troops.

HRW said the government’s action followed an April 30 protest by the Solidarity Party in Kabul, calling for the prosecution of warlords involved in past atrocities. Many of those accused are currently in the government, parliament or other official positions.

SOURCE: Pajhwak News Agency

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