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President Karzai Launches Action Plan for Justice

President Hamid Karzai launched on December 10 a three-year “Action Plan on Peace, Reconciliation and Justice in Afghanistan,” focused on healing the wounds of war in Afghanistan. The announcement was made to coincide with the 59th anniversary of the UN General Assembly's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The plan contains five key elements: the acknowledgment of the suffering of the Afghan people; the strengthening of state institutions; a commission on truth and justice; promoting reconciliation among the Afghan people; and establishing a proper accountability mechanism for crimes committed.

In his impassioned remarks, President Karzai stressed the need for unity amongst Afghans as a precondition for progress and reconciliation. He expressed his profound grief for the losses that Afghans continue to endure, and made a special plea for Afghanistan’s orphans. “Only our unity and the realization of truths can rid Afghanistan of its enemies, tyranny and terrorism,” he said.

The President declared that December 10 would be established as Afghanistan’s National Day of Remembrance to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the war for peace and security in Afghanistan. Awards were distributed to the families of victims to recent violence.

Tom Koenigs, the United Nations special envoy to Afghanistan praised the plan as a comprehensive approach to transitional justice.

”This is a remarkable step, and especially so for a country that has suffered so much and in which conflict remains all too present…The decades of human rights violations in Afghanistan have left huge numbers of victims whose suffering needs proper recognition and respect. Launching an Action Plan is only a first step towards coming to terms with this legacy, but it shows that the dignity of victims is being respected. It also gives hope that the truth may be established, that justice may be achieved, and that tolerance, solidarity, and trust may be restored,” Koenigs said.

Since 1979, an estimated 1.5 million Afghans died and some 5 million were forced to leave the country due to foreign invasion and war in Afghanistan.

The ceremony was attended by Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Chairman of the Mesharno Jirga Sibghatullah Mujaddidi, UN envoy to Afghanistan Tom Koenigs, foreign diplomats and senior government officials.

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