A new study by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has found that racial discrimination is a key factor behind the increasing level of violence in the country.
The study which is assessing the implementation of ‘International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination’ in Afghanistan reveals that 25.4 percent of Afghans have said they in a way or another, they were racially discriminated in government institutions because of their ethnicity, race or religious affiliations.
From the total of 3,498 respondents, 25.4 percent of them said they had experienced racial discrimination in recruitments, promotion and in the delivery of privileges in government institutions.
Respondents said that some articles of the Constitution of Afghanistan have also increased racial discrimination.
Based on the study, some provisions of Articles 62, 130 and 131 of the Constitution are not based on equality among the citizens of the country and instead these “controversial” provisions have fueled discrimination.
From the total of 3,498 respondents, 1,093 of them said they faced discrimination because of their ethnicity, 596 because of their religious affiliations, 975 faced discrimination because of their race and the remaining 229 said they were deprived of casting votes in the elections because of their ethnic, race, language, and religious affiliations.
“Afghanistan signed International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1980. But the document was officially endorsed in 2003 so that it is implemented in Afghanistan too,” the AIHRC chairperson Sima Samar said.
The study also finds:
• 207 people were fired from their jobs because of ethnic discrimination
• 275 people were deprived of promotion because of their religious, language and racial affiliations
• 360 people eligible for a job were deprived of their financial privileges
• 272 people faced discrimination while consulting legal and judicial organizations
• 289 people faced discrimination while applying for business and ownership
• 401 people faced discrimination while trying to have access to healthcare services
• 407 people faced discrimination while trying to have access to education services
“Discrimination is a source of violence and it is practically a key factor for the continuation of violence in Afghanistan. We witnessed ethnic wars in Afghanistan and even today attacks are carried out on the people because of their religion and ethnicity,” said Samar.
“Our research team travelled to 29 provinces and talked with the people,” said Azim Bisharat, AIHRC commissioner.
According to the study, 1,544 people have said that they know people who manipulate ethnic discrimination in social media.
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 of 21 December 1965 entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19.
“In this Convention, the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life,” Article 1 of the convention states.
The convention urges states parties to condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races.
The document also states that each State Party should undertake efforts to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to en sure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation; Each State Party.
The document also asks States Parties to condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form, and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination and, to this end, with due regard to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.