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PAN, May 16, 2010

Afghans want some candidates removed from list for being “violators of human rights”

Resident Ahmad Hussain said many candidates from his province are murderers and had committed crimes.

Pajhwok Report

KABUL: Afghans are calling for the removal of some candidates from a list of those standing in September's parliamentary elections for being "violators of human rights".

Some of the warlords and human rights violators in the election list
A resident of central Logar province, Muhibur Rahman, said,"I was astonished when I saw the names on the list of those who had committed atrocities against unarmed and innocent people."

On Thursday, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) issued the first list of 2,447 candidates for the September 18 poll, and said citizens had a week to submit their challenges.

Several people have come forward to say that allowing criminals or those who violate human rights to stand for parliament undermines the legitimacy of a democratic election.

Haji Aman Otmanzai from northern Kunduz province said he believed most of the 80 candidates standing in his province had been accused of crimes, and several still possessed illegal weapons.

He asked the IEC to ensure the parliament is in the hands of democratic people, not warlords

In central Bamyan province, the view was similar.

Resident Ahmad Hussain said many candidates from his province are murderers and had committed crimes. "If these people find their way to parliament, then we cannot call it a legitimate parliament, but a parliament of powerful people."

According to the IEC, 40 candidates are standing in Bamyan.

Another resident, Najeebullah, said more than 50 percent of candidates were not competent to be a lawmaker.

"If they go to the parliament, it means that they will trample upon the rights of those who are competent."

A resident of central Logar province, Muhibur Rahman, said,"I was astonished when I saw the names on the list of those who had committed atrocities against unarmed and innocent people."

He said the 30 candidates contesting were either illiterate or had committed crimes.

He said Ghulam Yahya Lashkar, who is the brother of the current Logar mayor, had nominated himself for the election but still had commanded a militia.

He said Lashkar nominated himself for the provincial council election as well but was later rejected by the IEC.

A resident from Mohammad Agha district, Ajmal, said, "The current candidates, if they are elected to the parliament, cannot represent us."

In northern Saripul, a tribal elder said people who had mistreated the poor were now standing for parliament.

He suggested the IEC remove such names, including that of Rahim, who is standing.

Rahim, however rejected these claims. He told Pajhwok Afghan News that he fought against the Soviet Union in 1980s for the sake of God.

He said people of the province had asked him to stand. "Everyone who says that I'm a warlord, please prove it in the court and I will also cooperate with him."

Around 40 candidates are standing in the province.

Ghulam Farooq, a teacher at Balkh University in the north, said candidates in his province did not have a good reputation among the people. "They have used money, influence and relations to reach to such a position." Eighty candidates are standing in Balkh.

A student at Kabul University, Ali Riza, said there were also human rights violators standing in Kabul. "If they are in the power, our country will never be a stable one." More than 500 people have registered for the parliament seats in Kabul.

Another student from eastern Nangarhar province, Imranullah, said many of the same figures who stood last year have signed up again. "They did nothing good last time and I'm sure will not do it this time."

According to IEC, 150 people are campaigning for the province's 14 seats.

A resident of southeastern Paktia, Abaseen, said some candidates would only work for their own interests rather than public's. He urged that the names of those who are murderers be removed from the list.

A final list of candidates is to be announced by the Electoral Complaint Commission (ECC) after they assess the public's challenges.

However, an ECC official, Ahmad Zia Rafat, told Pajhwok they could only accept allegations of war crimes or violation of human rights if a court had issued a verdict against a candidate. However, he said they had sent the preliminary list of candidates to the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG) which would pass on any information about weapons possessions or links with illegal armed groups.

He said the ECC would look at the complaints until June 10 and make an announcement a week later.

Till yesterday, 140 complaints, 120 of them in Kabul, had been lodged against candidates.

According to article 85 of the constitution, a person who is nominated or appointed as a member of the National Assembly should have the following qualifications.

They should be a citizen of Afghanistan, or obtained citizenship for at least 10 years before becoming a candidate.

They should not have been convicted by a court for committing a crime against humanity. They should be at least 25 years of age for a seat in the lower house, and 35 for a seat in the upper house.

Category: Warlords, Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, HR Violations - Views: 8742