GANHRI condems the killing of the AIHRC staff

GANHRI mourns the loss of Fatima Khalil and Ahmed Jawid Folad of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission killed by an explosive while heading to their office

GANHRI and APF have offered their deepest condolences to the Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) following the targeted killing of two staff members.

Fatima Khalil, a donor liaison officer, and Ahmed Jawid Folad, a driver, were killed by an explosive device in Kabul on Saturday 27 June 2020. They were travelling to the AIHRC’s office when the attack took place.

APF Chairperson Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher described the killing of the two AIHRC employees as a “deplorable and shocking crime”.

“These two dedicated individuals, committed to building a just and peaceful Afghanistan, were brutally murdered in a targeted attack,” Professor Croucher said.

We condemn this senseless act of violence and stand with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission in calling on the Government to conduct a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The AIHRC said in a statement that the “heinous attack” went against the teachings of Islam, Afghanistan’s Constitution and international human rights and humanitarian law.

“Ms Khalil was a young human rights defender at the beginning of her career. That she will not be able to fulfil her enormous potential is a tragedy. Mr Folad was one of the Commission’s longest serving and most loyal employees,” the statement said.

Ms Khalil, 24, began working with the AIHRC in September 2019. A participant on the APF’s gender mainstreaming course, she was remembered as a “brilliant and passionate advocate”.

Mr Folad, 41, had served as a driver with the AIHRC since 2003. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Professor Croucher said the latest attack added to an overwhelming level of suffering endured by the AIHRC in recent years.

“We stand ready to provide whatever support the AIHRC needs at this time of grieving and in the days and months ahead,” Professor Croucher said.

“It is also essential that the Government strengthen protection for the AIHRC and other human rights defenders in the country.”

In September 2019, Abdul Samad Ameri, Acting Head of the Ghor Provincial Office was abducted on the Kabul-Ghor highway in Maidan Wardak Province and assassinated two days later by gunfire.

A number of other AIHRC colleagues have also lost their lives to terrorist attacks: Professor Hamida Barmaki, Commissioner; Ansari Baluch, Head of the Ghor Provincial Office; Imran Aziz, Deputy Director of the Children Rights Unit; and Shafiqullah Naseri, Receptionist with the Nangarhar Provincial Office.

“This forms a pattern of attacks on a constitutionally-mandated national human rights institution that is unparalleled. It is intolerable,” the AIHRC statement said.

“In the context of armed conflict, deliberately killing human rights defenders is a war crime.”

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack that killed Ms Khalil and Mr Folad.

Watch here the video message from the Chairperson of the AIHRC on the occasion of the APF Annual General Meeting

Source: APF

Date: 28 June 2020