Who Gets to Negotiate Peace in Afghanistan? Daily Brief

Peace agreement may not mean peace for women in Afghanistan; call to restore US human rights leadership; blasphemy cases at two ends of the Muslim world; Jehovah’s Witness faces prison in Russia; opposition leaders arrested in Cameroon; shrinking window for justice in Côte d’Ivoire; rapes go unreported in Zimbabwe crisis; and the latest #FreeHakeem campaign news.

A peace deal in Afghanistan – for years seeming hopelessly elusive – may now be on the horizon. After 17 years of fighting in Afghanistan, the United States is bringing new urgency to negotiating with the Taliban and is proclaiming progress. But Afghan women are right to fear that a peace agreement may not mean peace for them.

Presidential candidates in the United States should restore the country’s commitment to promote human rights internationally, argues Aryeh Neier, the former executive director of Human Rights Watch in an article published by Just Security.

Thanks to inhumane blasphemy laws, two former death row inmates living at distant ends of the Muslim world have much in common...

Also check out HRW's comment on the infuriatingly absurd trial against a Jehovah’s Witness in Russia. Dennis Christensen could get 6,5 years in prison for ‘extremism’.

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The authorities in Cameroon have arrested political opponents and violently broken up peaceful protests in the past few days. The country’s opposition leader, Maurice Kamto, was arrested on January 28 for what appears to be politically motivated reasons and remains in detention.

The Côte d’Ivoire government and the International Criminal Court have so far failed in their duty to fully investigate and prosecute human rights abuses of the 2010-11 post-election crisis. They should redouble their efforts to meet their obligations to victims and forestall a new round of violence.

Rapes by the military in Zimbabwe go unreported as victims fear reprisals, according to news reports. “Beatings, harassment and other abuses have continued without actions from government to hold accountable those committing the abuses,” says Dewa Mavhinga, HRW's Southern Africa director.

And if you aren't already supporting the worldwide #SaveHakeem campaign, kindly do it now and spread the word!