Friday, June 2, 2023

Op-Ed: Peace according to victims’ rights

Immigration News

Sayed Abdul Hamid Safwat
Sayed Abdul Hamid Safwat
Sayed Abdul Hamid Safwat is a professor assistant in journalism faculty University and presidency of the union of Civil Society Organization of Balkh. He is currently working as Director of ICCO.
Photo – Reuters

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Translated by: Sayed Ahmad Sadat

Sayed Ahmad Sadat

Sayed Ahmad Sadat was born in 1989 in Mazar e Sharif and has studied journalism faculty of Balkh University. He currently works as a freelance journalist and writer at


In Afghanistan, the gravity of the war has been experienced by those who never intervene in the wars. Citizens who have lost their lives, property and their homes during the past 40 years of fighting in Afghanistan are the real victims of the war. However, although efforts to end the war and reach peace are commendable at all any kind of dialogue between the parties to the war in the absence of these victims can impede the consolidation and sustainability of the conflict and continue the conflict in the country. This article focuses more on the participation of war victims, women, civil society activists, and citizens who have incurred enormous costs during the wars. Respect for human dignity, compensation for victims and the participation of victims in national decision-making, and in particular in peace talks or negotiation are their inalienable rights.

Key words: peace, victims’ rights and human rights


When it comes or we talk about the victims of war, we look at the crimes of the past forty years. Afghanistan’s political parties or movements stood up against each other in support of dominant ideologies in the region and they inflicted irreparable damage on the people. The facing or encountering culminated in 1977, and with the Soviet invasion in 1979, giving power to the government to take a dream and to do massacre, torture, imprisonment and brutal attacks. The sheer number of two million deaths is shocking in during of the salinity of less than 20 million in the country-Afghanistan.

These figures show that around 300 people were killed daily during the Soviet’s presence. International statistics also show that over five million Afghans were displaced in the worst conditions in Pakistan, Iran and other countries. It’s called the largest number of displaced in contemporary world history. So, the participation of immigrants and victims of war in Peace negotiations or talks can be very valuable for the sustainability of peace.

Conflict or hostility background: Undoubtedly, when logic and dialogue don’t work, the confrontation or contrast and hostility simply replace their positions. Forty years of crisis and bloodshed are the result of such a situation.

After 1977, the government by supporting Russia committed the largest inhumane atrocities by arresting, torturing, and slaughtering people. In the seventies (1970s), Afghan citizens in major cities and highways witnessed bitter experiences of ethnic islands and countless murders and inhumane crimes. As the war subsided and the Russians return from Afghanistan, though optimism for a free-living life emerged, the life of this optimism and increase of civilian casualties was very short. However, Kabul and other major cities were less affected during the war (1979-1990). But in a short time, Kabul and the big cities became the scene of deadly competition that many civilians have been sacrificed to these libertine competitions. And the optimism soon gave way to fear and hatred and war of the alley to the alley, and parties of the war ignored all international standards and humanitarian law.

In 1996 when Taliban came to the conflict and revenge in the shadow of Taliban beliefs, from politics up to mass executions and mass slaughter and apparent ethnic-religious confrontation, the destruction of historical, cultural and cultural heritage and the destruction of land and water resources went beyond the event and with the deadly attack of September brought many countries to Afghanistan.  The Taliban obviously stood up against international covenants and international demands. They forced the world to have military intervention in Afghanistan.  Resistance and opposition within, and interference of, the international community across borders due to Taliban support for Terrorism, caused the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

With the new approach, the doors of schools were opened. Boys and girls went to school and the media started broadcasting one after the other. The Government building, constitution, the focus on rebuilding security forces and human rights structures and… all were hopeful for citizens. The results of the “BONN” conference created great hopes for an acceptable Afghanistan for the people and the world; transitional justice for the victims of war and the constitution, the structure of the system, and the fight against terrorism were hopeful for every citizen. But these hopes and aspirations of war victims faced two major problems in the short and long time. In the short term, powerful people are partners of the existing system, which bypassed justice and the law with the amnesty charter and in a long time, it was opposition groups and the Taliban that killed thousands of humans after nearly eight years by suicide attacks.

Now that the US and the Taliban have signed a peace agreement in the absence of the Afghan government, as western journalist says, the Afghan people are paying the price for attacking the US dual towers. ‹We see Afghans as victims of the 11 September attacks because they also lost their family members as a result of these attacks. In fact, after the war of 1979 “AD” in Afghanistan, the terroristic attacks of September 2001, was the beginning of a new war in this country‹ (Anwar, 2011).

The commitment of Parties of Conflict and Victim’s concern: The Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenants and Human Rights Documents and Humanitarian Laws of War oblige the parties to the conflict not to harm civilians during the war. Public places, farms, religious sites, water resources and those who are not involved in or are out of the battlefield should be safe. As stated in Article five (5) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: No one shall be subjected to torture or punishment or to acts which are cruel or inhuman or degrading to humanity, (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948).

In addition, UN General Assembly Resolution 1244 is another basis for the commitment and obligation of non-governmental groups to human rights and humanitarian law. The UN G.A- resolution says that all government and non-government responsible officials for the war operations; must observe the principles set in the Geneva Conventions. (Shaban, 2017)

Undoubtedly, the incident of  September 11-2001is a turning point in the political developments of the present century. A fast look at these terrorist incidents shows that in some cases terrorist acts are part of or are related to an armed conflict and it targets common people without discrimination between military and civilian targets.  (Tawakul Zaheh 2006) On the other hand, Instrumental use, the religious shield and ethnic hostilities have increased the complexity of war. The durability of this situation is most damaging to civilians and citizens. According to the process of peace negotiation, and the failure of past talks without the participation of war victims, the importance and role of the victims in the talks is added.

The Government of Afghanistan is a member of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and also a member of the Second Additional Protocol of 1977. In 2003, the Government of Afghanistan joined the Statute of the International Criminal Court. According to the Rome Statute, which sets out how this Court was formed, the gross violation of the provisions of the Four Geneva Conventions is a war crime. These international documents emphasize the protection of civilians during armed conflict and the prohibition of attacks on civilians, residential areas and public facilities created for the civilian population.

Therefore, according to international humanitarian law, all parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan are obliged to avoid damaging the lives and property of civilians and to respect international humanitarian norms and norms protecting civilians, in particular women and children. And take specific measures to protect them, (Commission). In addition, it should facilitate the meaningful participation of war victims in the pursuit of justice and lasting peace. So far, as has been noted, the perpetrators of war after the assumption of power by the Charter of Amnesty have denied the victims’ legitimate claims.

Ensuring Justice and Victims’ Participation in Peace Dialogue: As Kant emphasizes, the principles of justice are a set of basic laws that regulate and control as much as possible to maximize political and civil liberties. The principles of justice must be inferred in some way from the absolute and the fundamental laws of practical wisdom, which are the doctrine of pure reason, and since the absolute and fundamental ethical and practical principles are absolute and indispensable, the principles of justice will also be absolute laws (Waezi, 2004). In systems where laws are made bilaterally for the purpose of violating human rights, or in systems where laws are, as Kant mentioned it, inferior to practical wisdom and rationality, but the practices and narratives of the law are incorrect. So, justice is the first victim. In order to bring thousands of anti-human incidents in court is enough to try only one of them. Surely that other or many people will fall off and their secret will take them off. When the Taliban stormed in Yakawlang and struck hundreds of innocent peasants in the eyes of their children and peeled them alive, who brought their perpetrators to justice after nineteen years? A number of survivors of massacre victims in Yakawlang Bamyan nineteen years ago say that the Taliban, especially Mullah Abdul Ghani brother, the deputy head of the Taliban’s bureau in Qatar, was the main cause of the massacre (Tolo TV, 2018). Now is the time for the victims of war in the light of national law and international conventions and for the achievement of lasting peace by the participation of representatives of war victims in the negotiations.

Over the past eight years, the efforts of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the UN Deputy Representative Mission, and a number of national and international organizations working to prepare documentary reports and petitions have advocated for the protection of the rights of victims of war. Supporting and caring for the war victim’s rights in peace negotiation and reduced civilian casualties have made it very prominent. 

Although the parties to the conflict, particularly the armed opposition to the Afghan government, have rarely responded to the lawsuits, they have responded by broadcasting announcements of civilian casualties and war casualties. Undoubtedly, prosperity and peace in other countries show that it is not possible to achieve peace without respect for human rights, justice and equality and the culture of breaking the law.

The achievement of lasting peace and stability is directly dependent on changing the perspective of political activists and pursuing justice. The direct and acceptable participation of war victims, women, civil society activists, the media and human rights in peace dialogue and the establishment and implementation of a mechanism to achieve this goal should be among our priorities.

Challenges and harms of peace victims’ participation in peace and reconciliation: One of the undeniable issues involved in the participation of the peace process of multiplicity and the lack of mutual understanding among victims, women and civil society in Afghanistan. Considering the urgency of peace, the relevant institutions should organize the necessary coordination in this regard. By understanding the inevitability and challenges of the Afghan government, such as the election dilemma, interrupts and inevitabilities of regional, contact and alignment of a number of countries with opponents and internal problems, failures create problems in making or getting a good decision, but the requirements of victims should not become the sacrifice of this situation.

Secondary Looking to Victims of war: In a country like Afghanistan, the rights of victims and civilians are usually diminished to the interests of states and other actors of power. The main cause of this crisis has been the cohesion and priorities and performance of the interests of the powerful, the most prominent example being the National Reconciliation and Reconciliation Charter (2005) of the national council and in the past at national reconciliation Dr. Najib-President and ignoring of transitional justice and more points. Pay attention to the rights of these groups during the peace talks and to provide meaningful and direct participation in the peace process.

Designing and implementing a clear, transparent and specific mechanism for addressing victims’ rights, demands, wishes and suggestions is one of the essential strategies to guarantee the rights of victims in the peace process. The design of this mechanism and its implementation should be an integral part of the Afghan Peace Action Plan (Samar, 2008). In view of the foregoing below issues suggested for reaching to victims ‘rights.

  • Establishment of a comprehensive and transparent enforcement mechanism that take forward and guarantee the theories, suggestion and wish of victims of war in peace Negotiations.
  • Support and provide the victims’ claims and plan with the assistance of the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan, the United Nations and civil society in peace negotiations.
  • Facilitating a conference with the presence of victims’ representatives and hostilities within the country with the aim of presenting the issues and wishes of the victims.

The Sources and references

  • Habib Twakkol Zada, “International humanitarian law and fighting against terrorism”-1386
  • Fatima Hashim, “Text of Peace Agreement of US and Taliban-2020.
  • RaminAnwari.”” کنفرانس بن. بن: BBC 2001.
  • Ahmad Waezi, “Kant’s Justice Theory” cultural organization and Islamic communication-1384.
  • “International human rights declaration”-Article 5th (1948)
  • “Bashar, International law declaration”-Article 5th (1948)
  • Dr.Seema Samar, “Needs of victims ‘right observation in peace processes” Published in 8 Morning Daily, (1388)
  • Sayed Anwar, “it’s the time to find solutions for ending to war in Afghanistan” Published in Arman-e- Shahr –(1391)
  • Tolo Tv, victims Representative:” Our rights must be include in peace process”-(1398)
  • Commission, “Report from civilian casualties” independent human rights commission-(1397)
  • Muhammad Zuhair Shaban, Article-“War-Fight based on international humanitarian”
  • (1397)
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