Third committee headshotsHuman rights committee leaders: Michael Georg Link, Margareta Kiener Nellen and Kyriakos Hadjiyianni

BISHKEK, 6 October 2018 – In advance of the 20 October parliamentary elections to be held in Afghanistan, the leaders of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s human rights committee express their deep concern at the arbitrary exclusion of candidates from running for office.

The officers of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Chair Margareta Kiener Nellen (MP, Switzerland), Vice-Chair Michael Georg Link (MP, Germany), and Rapporteur Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (MP, Cyprus) issued the following statement:

“Elections are fundamentally intended to be a process through which people can select their decision-makers. Candidates must not be excluded from running based on unclear grounds.

“We express our strong hope for democratic elections in Afghanistan, to help bring peace and development to a country that has seen far too much conflict and pain. The closed-door process in Afghanistan that has barred a number of candidates for election, including the well-known human rights activist Fawzia Koofi, a former Chair of the Committee on Human Rights of the Interparliamentary Union (IPU), has not provided them with a right to respond to allegations against them or effectively defend themselves. Unless immediate steps are taken to rectify this situation, trust in the electoral process overall will almost certainly suffer.”