Human Rights, Justice and Negotiating Peace with Terrorists: The Case of Afghanistan
The Senator George J. Mitchell Peace Lecture Series celebrates and recognises Senator Mitchell’s contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and to conflict resolution in the Middle East. His aim of transforming conflict and promoting social justice in Northern Ireland and across the world is shared by our Institute.
The Annual Peace Lecture series was inaugurated in 2018 with a lecture from President Mary Robinson on climate justice. President Robinson has subsequently become Chair of The Elders and has held prestigious posts in Ireland and the United Nations.
Previous speakers include Mamphela Ramphele (2019) and Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (2020).
Speaker: Nader Nadery (Asser Institute, Center for International and European Law)
Chair: Professor Richard English (Queen's University Belfast)
On December 4, 2001 a peace agreement for a post Taliban government was signed in Bonn, Germany. The accord was facilitated by the UN after US and collation forces launched a military operation against the Taliban in response to the 9/11 terrorist attack of the United States. Within a month the Taliban’s first rule ended and Afghanistan embarked on a new path of stability, democracy and constitutional rule where rights and freedom of its citizen was promised to be protected and promoted.
In two years Taliban that were considered defeated, were provided safe havens across the Durand line, regrouped and begin to launch two decades of deadly insurgency against Afghan government and NATO forces in the country. Finally the US and Taliban signed a agreement on Feb 29, 2020. The agreement known as the US-Taliban Doha agreement was negotiated for over two years and in the absence of the then Afghan government. The direct talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan delegation and the Taliban were one of the four provisions of the US-Taliban Doha agreement.
On September 12, 2020, the intra-Afghan Peace Negotiation began in Doha capital of the State of Qatar. The two large delegations of 21 members each, met to find a peaceful settlement after nearly two decades of conflict. However, the US-Taliban negotiation changed the political and military realities of the country and as a consequence incentives for a political settlement within the newly created political and military reality, has reduced significantly in Taliban.
The two sides negotiated for 11 months until the Islamic Republic government collapsed on August 15, 2021.
With the collapse of the republic, most of the gains in the field of Human Rights protection specially of women rights are being rolled back. There is now a systematic apartheid against Afghan women by the Taliban rulers.
The past two decades of international intervention in Afghanistan give many important lessons learned in the field of justice and human rights. This lecture will tell the story of Afghans’ struggle for institutionalization of human rights principles, their fight for justice and the international community’s failure to side with them. It will tell how it looked like to negotiate peace with a group that was conducting terrorist activities and does not believes in human rights and the citizens freedom. It will tell the history of heartbreak and the story of resilient of people in their quest for dignity and justice in the face of unimaginable adversity.
Mr. Nadery was Member of Peace Negotiation Team for Afghanistan Peace Process in Doha (Sep 2020 to Aug 2001). He also served as chairman of the Independent Civil Service Commission of Afghanistan (April 2017 to June 2021). Prior to joining the Commission he was Senior Advisor to the President on Human Rights and Strategic Affairs. He was also presidential envoy for protection of freedom of expression.
Mr. Nadery served as director of Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) 2012 to 2016. AREU is Afghanistan’s globally ranked research institute. He served as Commissioner of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC)2004-2012.
Prior to his appointment at the AIHRC Mr. Nadery served as the director of Afghanistan programs of Global Rights, Partners for Justice ( 2002 to 2004). He is also the founder and was chairman of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (domestic election observation body). He also served as the Spokesperson for the Emergency Loya Jerga (Grand Assembly) that elected head of transitional government in 2002. During this time Mr. Nadery was also elected as a delegate for the ELJ and served as representative of civil society. He represented Afghan youth at the main UN peace talks for Afghanistan in the Bonn Conference in 2001, where the Post-Taliban interim government was formed.
Mr. Nadery co-founded Afghan Civil Society Forum, and foundation for civil society and culture.
He has written extensively on politics, human rights, women rights and democracy in Afghanistan. Mr. Nadery thought constitutional law at the American University of Afghanistan in 2012.
He was member of Global Agenda Council on Fragile States of World Economic Forum. Mr. Nadery served as chief of mission for No Peace without Justice Support missions in Libya after the 2012 revolution there. He is also a member of Board of Editors of the International Journal on Transitional Justice and appears regularly on BBC, New York Times, Washington Post and other international media. In 2005 Mr. Nadery was recognized as an "Asian Hero" by Time Magazine and named as Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2008. He was awarded the 2004 Rebok Human Rights Award.
Mr. Nadery, studied law and political sciences at Kabul University and earned his master’s degree in International Relations from George Washington University, he also studied leadership at Kennedy school of government at Harvard University. He speaks, English, Persian/ Dari, Pashto, Baluchi and has a basic knowledge of Dutch.