5 – No guarantee of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index


The ITUC affiliate in Afghanistan is the National Union of Afghanistan Workers and Employees (NUAWE).

Afghanistan has not ratified either Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (1948) or Convention No. 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949).

In practice

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Afghan government blocks trade union congress09-09-2020

The Justice Ministry of Afghanistan issued a second ban on the trade union congress for the National Union of Afghanistan Workers and Employees (NUAWE), due to be held on 5 September 2020. An earlier attempt by the organisation to hold its congress in February also met with a government ban.
The government reneged on its pledge to unblock the organization’s bank account and has systematically interfered in the congress preparations which were underway. It has also refused to return confiscated properties belonging to the union centre until a congress has been held. It has further failed to implement its promise to the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association to cease interfering in NUAWE’s affairs.

Government oppression of the National Union of Afghanistan Workers and Employees29-12-2019

After an ITUC mission to Afghanistan on the 4-6 of March 2019 to investigate violations of trade union rights against ITUC affiliate NUAWE, the ITUC was forced to contact the government with several ongoing concerns. 
These concerns were due to a lack of commitment shown by the Ministry of Labour to redress violations of trade union rights following the seizure of NUAWE properties and a raid on its headquarters in May 2018. 
As of the time of writing, NUAWE’s licence was renewed only temporarily in 2018 to allow the union to attend the international Labour Conference and hold its congress. The re-opening of the NUAWE bank account was similarly temporary. Since this time, the accounts have remained frozen, making it impossible for the union to hold its 2020 congress. 
Furthermore, NUAWE’s offices remained confiscated, with the union forced to use a floor of the Labour Ministry building for office work. The government of Afghanistan still prevents NUAWE from organising its Congress according to its constitution and statutes and insists that the Congress be held under the control of a commission established by the Ministry of Justice. 
In addition, on 29 December 2019, the Ministry of Justice arbitrarily and without any official authority fired NUAWE’s elected executive board and congressional committee. In all effects, the unions is now prevented from carrying out any activities. The government’s interference in NUAWE’s affairs and activities is a blatant and grave violation of ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

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