Afghanistan rejected the recommendations in its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Outcome Report issued on June 16 at the UN Human Rights Council. Other issues addressed include the death penalty, anti-gay discrimination, and impunity.
The government's rejection of the recommendations to end prosecutions for "moral crimes" undercuts its acceptance of recommendations supporting women's rights and its explicit avowal that "women's rights and gender equality remained a top priority," Human Rights Watch said.
The action also runs counter to directives from Afghanistan's attorney general and the justice ministry to decriminalize "running away" and "attempted zina," or sex outside marriage.
"The Afghan government's rejection of recommendations to protect women from 'moral crimes' prosecutions underlines the glaring gap between its women's rights rhetoric and its frequent failure to actually protect women from serious abuses," said Phelim Kine of Human Rights Watch.
"Afghanistan's failure to protect women adds insult to the injury endured by the hundreds of women and girls victimized by the 'moral crimes' prosecutions."
The Universal Periodic Review involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member countries under the auspices of the Human Rights Council.
The UPR obligates countries to list the actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations.