Address Afghanistan human rights, Amnesty International tells NATO

June 3, 2013 at 3:16 PM

LONDON, June 3 (UPI) -- Rights gained in the past 12 years in Afghanistan must be protected, the human rights organization Amnesty International said in a statement Monday.

The statement came in advance of a meeting in Brussels this week by NATO defense ministers who will discuss the progress of transition of Afghanistan's security responsibilities from NATO and coalition forces to the national Afghan army.

"It is vital that human rights are not forgotten by the Afghan government or its international partners during this process," said Isabelle Arradon, Amnesty International's deputy Asia Pacific director. "The country is still facing enormous human rights challenges that must be [at the] top of any agenda that concerns Afghanistan's future."

Civilians continue to bear the brunt of violence in the Afghan conflict, the group, based in London, said.

Over 2,700 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2012, U.N. statistics indicate.

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