For Immediate Release

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Human Rights 'Hang in the Balance' at NATO Summit on Afghanistan, Says Amnesty International

STRASBOURG - Commenting on the NATO summit on Afghanistan set to begin in Strasbourg today, Amnesty International Asia Pacific program director Sam Zarifi said:

"This really is a crucial moment for the future of Afghanistan, with human rights currently hanging in the balance.

"The sad truth is that ordinary Afghans have virtually no faith in their country's ramshackle legal system, one that continually lets them down and denies them any semblance of justice.

"President Karzai needs to start standing up for human rights. What we absolutely don't want to see is the president signing away human rights in horse-trading with political groups within Afghanistan. For example, the reported new law on women's rights could be about to seriously undermine women's rights for millions of Afghanistan women.

"Meanwhile, one absolutely clear thing is that NATO must get its own house in order in Afghanistan--meaning that its forces must be fully accountable for their actions.

"We need to see all 40-plus NATO country forces operating in Afghanistan under common rules of engagement that ensure full compliance with international humanitarian law. U.S. forces should also operate within the same rules of engagement; there must be no impunity for international forces in Afghanistan."



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