Afghanistan ratified the Convention against Torture in 1987. Torture is also universally acknowledged to be illegal under customary international law. It is also prohibited by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Afghanistan is a party.267
Afghan domestic law specifically prohibits torture. Under the Bonn Agreement of December 2001, Afghanistan's 1964 constitution is currently valid and in effect in Afghanistan and will remain so until a subsequent constitution is approved.268 Article 26 of that document specifies that:
Freedom of Expression and Association
The right to freedom of association is defined by Article 22 of the ICCPR: "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests." As with the right to freedom of expression, under article 22, "No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."
Afghanistan's 1964 constitution provides for the rights to freedom of expression and association. Article 31 protects the freedom of expression:
Freedom of thought and expression is inviolable. Every Afghan has the right to express his thoughts in speech, in writing, in pictures, and by other means, in accordance with the provisions of the law. Every Afghan has the right to print and publish ideas in accordance with the provisions of the law, without submission in advance to the authorities of the state. The permission to establish and own public printing houses and to issue publications is granted only to the citizens and the state of Afghanistan, in accordance with the provisions of the law. The establishment and operation of public radio transmission and telecasting is the exclusive right of the state.
Article 32 protects the freedoms of assembly and association:
Afghan citizens have the right to assemble unarmed, without prior permission of the state, for the achievement of legitimate and peaceful purposes, in accordance with the provisions of the law. Afghan citizens have the right to establish, in accordance with the provisions of the law, associations for the realization of material or spiritual purposes.
Afghan citizens have the right to form political parties, in accordance with the terms of the law, provided that:
1) the aims and activities of the party and the ideas of which the organization of the party is based are not opposed to the values embodied in this constitution.
2) the organization and financial resources of the party are open. A party formed in accordance with the provisions of the law cannot be dissolved without due process of the law and the order of the Supreme Court.
Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, or national or social origin is prohibited by the ICCPR as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to all of which Afghanistan is a party.272
266 Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted December 10, 1984, G.A. Res. 39/46, U.N. Doc. A/39/51 (entered into force June 26, 1987, and ratified by Afghanistan April 1, 1987).
267 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), art. 7, opened for signature December 16, 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171 (entered into force March 23, 1976, and ratified by Afghanistan January 24, 1983).
268 Agreement on provisional arrangements in Afghanistan pending the re-establishment of permanent government institutions, Bonn, Germany, signed December 5, 2001. Subsequent Afghan constitutions in 1976, 1987, and 1990, which are no longer in effect, also prohibited torture.
269 ICCPR, art. 19(2).
270 ICCPR, art. 19(3).
271 U.N. Human Rights Committee General Comment 10, Freedom of Expression, Nineteenth Session, 1983, (hereafter, General Comment 10), para. 4.
272 ICCPR, art. 2(1); Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), art. 2, G.A. Res. 34/180, U.N. Doc. A/34/46 (entered into force September 3, 1981, and ratified by Afghanistan August 14, 1980); Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), art 2(1), adopted November 20, 1989, G.A. Res. 44/25, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (entered into force September 2, 1990, and ratified by Afghanistan March 28, 1994); and International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), art 5(e), adopted December 21, 1965, G.A. Res. 2106 (XX), 660 U.N.T.S. 195 (entered into force January 4, 1969, and ratified by Afghanistan July 6, 1983).