Decree of the Presidency of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan on the Establishment of an Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission

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Interim Adminis tration of Afghanis tan

Decree of the Presiden cy of the In terim Administration o f Afghanistan on the
Establishment of an Afghan Inde pendent Human Rights Commission

No.: ________

Date: ________

Whereas , the Agreem ent on Provisional Arrangem ents in Afghanistan Pending The Re-
Establishm ent of Per manent Governm ent Institu tion s (herein after, “th e Bonn
Agreem ent”) provides that: “The Interim Adm inistr ation sha ll, with th e a ssistance of the
United Nations, establish an indepe ndent hum an rights comm ission, whose
responsibilities will include hum an rights m onitoring, inves tigation of violations of
hum an rights, and developm ent of dom estic hu man rights institu tion s,”

Now therefore and to these ends ,

(1) There shall be an Afghan independent hum an rights comm ission (hereinafter “the
Comm ission”) established in Afghanistan, in accordance with the provisions of
the Bonn Agreem ent, and the term s, conditions and mem bership set out in
Annexes One and Two, attached.
(2) The pres ent decree sh all enter into fo rce on the date of it s adoption, and shall
thereafter be published in the official gazette, tog ether with its annexes.


Ha mid Karzai,
Chairm an of the Interim Adm inistration


Terms of R eference of the Afghan I ndependent Human Rights Commission

Article One
There shall be an Afghan independent human rights comm ission (hereinafter “th e
Comm ission”) established in Afghanistan, wi th the support of the United Nations. The
Comm ission shall serve for a fixed term of tw o- years from the date of its appointm ent,
subject to the provisions of Articles Fourteen and Fifteen, below.

Article Tw o
The Comm ission shall be charged with develo ping a national plan of action for hum an
rights in Afghanistan, and with hum an rights monitoring, investigatio n of violations of
hum an rights, development and im plem entati on of a national programm e of hum an ri ghts
education, undertaking of national hum an ri ghts consultations, and developm ent of
dom estic hu man rights institu tion s, in accord an ce with the term s of the Bonn Agreement,
applicable international hum an rights nor ms, standards, and conventions, and the
provisions of this decree and annex. It sh all ca rry o ut these f unctions in all of

Article Three
The Comm ission shall be com posed of 11 (e leven) full-tim e m embers appointed on the
basis of their individual hu man rights expertise, personal and professional integrity and
com petence, dem onstrated independ ence, comm itm ent to th e cause of hum an rights, and
public credibility, one of whom s hall be designated as Chairperson by the Interim
Adm inistration. The m embership of the Comm issi on shall include Afghan wom en a nd
men, persons drawn from each of the prin cipal ethn ic and relig ious groups of
Afghanistan, both from inside the country a nd in the Afgha n Diaspora, and from Afghan
refugee and inte rnally displ aced communities. All m embers shall b e Afghan nation als.

Article Four
The m embers of the Comm ission shall be ap pointed by the Chairm an of the Interim
Adm inistration, in close cons ultation with rele vant m inistries of the Interim
Adm inistration, m embers of the Spe cial In dependent Comm ission for the Convening of
the Em ergency Loya Jirga, and representativ es of Afghan civil so ciety, including Afghan
hum an rights organizations.

Article Five
Mem bers of the Comm ission sh all s erve for a te rm of two years from the date of their
appointm ent. During their tenur e, they shall not be subjec t to rem oval by any external
authority. The Comm ission shall prom ulgate its own inte rnal d iscip lina ry rules ,
regulations and procedures, including require ments for a quorum and procedures relating
to the p rese rvation of co nfidentia lity .

Article Six
The Comm ission shall have its headquarters in Kabul, and shall as well establish and
maintain regional s atellite offices in Qa ndahar, Hera t, Mazar-i Sharif, Faizabad,
Jalalabad, Gardez and Bam iyan. The Comm issi on shall determ ine whether, when and
where to open addition al of fices, with a m ind to ensuring the widest possible na tional
coverage and public accessibility within available resources.

Article Sev en
The Commi ssion shall be suppor ted by a full-tim e professiona l secretariat, staffed by
Afghan hum an rights specialis ts and qualified support st aff. The Commission shall
appoint a D irector to head the staff and be responsible for the daily m anagem ent of the
work of the Comm ission and its offices. The D irector shall, in turn, be responsible for
the appo intm ent of all other staff, in acco rdance with criteria, term s and procedu res to be
developed by or under the aut hority of the Comm ission.

Article Eig ht
All Comm ission m embers and staf f shall be im mune f rom all cr im inal prosecution and
civil liability for words spoken, acts perfor med or om issions comm itted in th e good faith
perform ance of their m andated prof essional duties for the prom otion and protection of
hum an rights. Persons appearing before the Comm ission in order to offer evidence or
testim ony shall be entitled to imm unity from civil or crim inal liability only for the act of
providing such evidence or testim ony, except where that person is charged with giving
false testim ony or fabricating evidence. A ll national authorities a nd official institutions
shall be required to afford full cooperation to the Comm ission, and to facilitate its work
in carrying out its m andated functions. The national authorities shall be responsible for
providing adequate security for the m embers, staff, witnesses, prem ises, m aterials and
property of the Comm ission, wherever these m ay be found.

Article Nine
The Comm ission shall be m andated to m onito r the situation of hu man rights throughout
the entire co untry, to inv estig ate allegations of violations of hum an rights, and to develop
recomm endations for the building and strengt hening of national hum an rights capacities
and institutions. It shall work with partne r institutions to develop and implem ent hum an
rights education activities in cluding through the incorporation of hum an rights into
nationa l ed ucation al cu rricu la a t a ll leve ls, an d in the m ass m edia. It sha ll a s well
undertake national consultations and propose a national strate gy for transitional justice
and for addressing the abuses of the past. It shall subm it opinions, recommendations,
proposals and reports to local, regional and national authorities, prom ote the
harm onization of national law and practice with international hum an rights in strum ents to
which the A fghanistan is a party, provide a dvice and inform ation to the country’s hum an
rights treaty reporting processes, assist in the developm ent and i mplem entation of
national hum an rights education programm es, and cooperate with the United Nations and
other inte rna tiona l organ ization s on all m atte rs within the Comm ission’s competence.


Article Ten
The Comm ission shall be em power ed to freely consider any questi ons f alling within its
com petence, whatever the source of the proposal or referral, and shall have the right to
initiate its own enquiries and investigations . It shall receive, hear and consider
com plaints a nd petitions con cern ing both indiv idual cas es an d general situations, whether
bought before it by individuals, their representa tives, third parties or organizations, and
shall be en trusted to add ress such cases and situations, variously, a nd in accordance with
its own judgem ent, by seeking am icable settlem ent through conciliation, issuing
decisions, or those confidential procedures which it m ay s ee fit to adopt; by inform ing
petitioners of their rights and available re medies within th e nationa l legal system and
international m echanisms and how to access th em ; by referring th em to the courts or
transferring them to other com petent author ities; and, or by m aking recommendations to
the au thorities for rem edial legal o r ad ministra tive reform . The Co mmission s hall
develop its own rules and procedures for thes e purposes, giving due regard to the need to
ensure gender sensitivity and physical, social, cultural and linguistic accessibility.

Article Elev en
The Comm ission shall have the power to he ar any person and obtain any inform ation,
evidence an d docum ent ation necess ary to asses s situa tion s and cases f alling within its
com petence. It shall further have th e power to require that the evidence of any witness,
whether written or oral, be given under oath or affir mation, in the m anne r required for the
presentation of evidence before the courts of Afghanistan, an d to adm inister such o ath or
affir mation. It shall have the power to su mmon any person resident in Afghanistan to
appear before the Comm ission in order to give evidence, provide testim ony, produce
docum ents or deliver m aterial evidence, to ex am ine such persons as witnesses, and to
com pel them to produce docum entary or m ateri al eviden ce in their pos session or u nder
their contro l. The Comm ission shall have th e author ity to adm it or exclude the public
from any part of an enquiry, in particular wh ere this is n ece ssary in ord er to protect th e
safety or reputation of any persons.

Article Tw elve
The Comm ission shall develop and m aintain cooperative working relationships with
organizations and representatives of Afgha n civil society, including non-governmental
organizations, comm unity based groups, and ot hers. It shall publish a com prehensive
yearly report on the st ate of hum an rights in Afghanistan. It shall as well publicize its
opinions and recomm endations, undertake re gular public infor mation activities, and
address public opinion directly and through the m edia.

Article Thirteen
The Commi ssion shall develop its own budget, as well as transparent and efficient
system s for its financial m anagem ent, ensu ring the acquisition and m aintenance of
adequate infrastructure, f unding, staff, prem ises, and ma terials necessary for the
independent perform anc e of its m andated respon sibilities. It shall seek the technical and
financial support of the United Nations and international donor s for its activities during
the transitional period, as defined in the Bonn Agreem ent.


Article Fourteen
The Commi ssion itself shall have so le au thor ity for dete rm ining ru les an d procedu res for
the rem oval of m embers and staf f for reasons rela ting to capa city o r ac tio ns incom patible
with the ir d uties, and f or the actu al rem oval of such m embers or s taff in accordan ce with
such ru les and procedu res. In all cases wher e t he r emoval , resignation or death of a
member results in a vacancy, the Comm ission shall itself appoint the necessary num ber
of new m embers to fill s uch vacancies, in acco rdance with its own ru les and pro ced ures.
Any new mem bers appointed to fill such va cancies shall serve for the balance of the
original two-year m andate of the Commission.

Article Fifteen
Prior to the term ination of the m andate of the C omm ission, as defi ned in Articles One
and Five, supra , the Comm ission shall deve lop and pr esent to th e Constitu tional
Comm ission and the Co nstitu tion al Loya Jirga a proposal an d plan for th e Comm issi on’s
transf orm ation into a co nstitu tion ally entren che d perm anent independen t Af ghan hum an
rights com mission, in accordan ce with th e U nite d Natio ns Principles Relating to the
Status Of National Institutions for the Pr om otion and Protection of Human Rights (“ The
Paris Prin ciples ,” United Nations General Assembly Resolution 48/134 of 20 Decem ber
1993, annex).