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Afghanistan: UN mission stresses need for victims' rights to figure in impunity debate

1 February 2007 The United Nations mission in Afghanistan today stressed the need for the rights of victims of the country’s past 25 years of conflict to be at the heart of national reconciliation and any efforts to grant impunity.

“No one has the right to forgive those responsible for human rights violations other than the victims themselves,” the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a statement on yesterday’s debate and resolution in the Wolesi Jirga (People’s Council) on national stability, and strengthening national unity and reconciliation while addressing the legacy of the past.

“The struggle and sacrifice of the Afghan people in their quest for peace, freedom, independence and a better life over 25 years of conflict deserve full recognition. In this regard, UNAMA is keen to ensure that the rights of victims remain at the heart of this debate. For any process of national reconciliation to succeed the suffering of victims must be acknowledged and impunity tackled,” it added.

“International experience shows that truth is vital to reconciliation. As a consequence, the search for truth and the rights of victims are central elements of Afghanistan’s Action Plan on Peace, Reconciliation, and Justice.”

UNAMA said the Afghan people had the full backing of their international partners, including the UN, in implementing this plan.

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