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Supporting the new leaders of Afghanistan’s NHRI

Graphic: AIHRC leadership team at the High Level Dialogue

The APF recently convened a High-Level Dialogue with the new leadership team to discuss their collective goals and the critical issues facing the NHRI

A new leadership team has been appointed to head the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) at a critical time for the country and the institution.

Ms Shaharzad Akbar is just the second person to lead the AIHRC after Dr Sima Samar. She took up the role of Chairperson in July 2019 and is supported in this work by eight other Commission members.

The APF recently convened a two-day High-Level Dialogue with the new leadership team to discuss their collective goals and the critical issues facing the organisation.

"The AIHRC operates in one of the most complex and challenging environments in the world," said Pip Dargan, APF Principal Adviser, Capacity Assessments and International Engagement.

"The High Level Dialogue was an opportunity for the new group of Commissioners to discuss their roles and the human rights impact they want to have for individuals and communities that have experienced decades of conflict," she said.


We are all grateful to you for taking the time and the risk to travel to Kabul and help us think through some difficult, important and urgent questions.

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission Logo Shaharzad Akbar, Chairperson, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission

Graphic: AIHRC Commission members take part in the High Level Dialogue with APF representatives


The topics covered during the two-day APF High-Level Dialogue included:

  • Key human rights issues facing the people of Afghanistan, including the rights of women and girls
  • Peace negotiations with the Taliban and the constructive role the AIHRC can play in these processes
  • Implementing the Commission's human rights mandate in a challenging budgetary environment
  • Leading an inclusive change management process and communicating the Commission's goals and impact with staff and external stakeholders.

"The peace negotiations are crucial to the future of Afghanistan and it is vital that the Commission, as one of the few truly independent voices in the country, is able to contribute meaningfully to those discussions," Ms Dargan said.

"It is essential that there is a collegiate strategy to guide this work and the other challenging projects that the Commissioners will need to address in the coming year.

"The APF will provide all the support we can to help the Commission's new leadership team deliver on its mandate for the people of Afghanistan."

The APF High Level Dialogue, held in Kabul from 25-26 November 2019, was facilitated by APF Expert NHRI Consultant Chris Sidoti and Pip Dargan, representing the APF secretariat.


The APF's High Level Dialogue encourages new Commissioners within an NHRI to talk openly, share their priorities and chart a course to better promote and protect human rights in their country.


Image credits

  1. AIHRC leadership team at the High Level Dialogue - Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
  2. AIHRC Commission members take part in the High Level Dialogue with APF representatives - Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission