The first report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan must serve as a wakeup call to the international community on the urgent need for establishment of an accountability mechanism to end the gross human rights violations by the Taliban in Afghanistan, said Amnesty International today as the Special Rapporteur presented his first report to the 51st session of the Human Rights Council.
We welcome the Special rapporteur’s report which is a critical addition to the existing documentation
of the ongoing crisis the people in
Afghanistan are facing.
Yamini Mishra, South Asia Regional Director at Amnesty International
“We welcome the Special rapporteur’s report which is a critical addition to the existing documentation of the ongoing crisis the people in Afghanistan are facing. The Special Rapporteur highlights the significant reversal of gains made in Afghanistan when it comes to women’s rights, girls’ education, protection of minorities, access to justice, freedom of expression and association among other critical rights. We are deeply concerned that these human rights violations and abuses continue with impunity in the absence of a mechanism to hold the Taliban de- facto authorities accountable,” said Yamini Mishra, South Asia Regional Director at Amnesty International.
Despite the promises made by the Taliban at the Doha Peace Negotiations and in subsequent announcements as they gained Afghanistan control in August 2021, the Taliban have not adhered to their own announced ‘general amnesty’. Enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, extra judiciary killings, revenge killings of different groups especially of former Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) and government officials, targeting of communities based on ethnic and religious identity such as Hazaras, and targeted killings of members of the National Resistance Front (NRF) and members of Islamic State of Khorasan Province (IS-KP) with near blanket impunity has continued in the last 12 months. These gross human rights violations are documented both by the Special Rapporteur and in independent investigations by Amnesty International which highlight the urgent need to investigate and prosecute the alleged perpetrators of these crimes.
“The Taliban have broken their promises to the people in Afghanistan and the international community time and again. Amnesty International emphasizes that the findings in the Special Rapporteur’s report on targeted killings, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations, particularly in Panjshir province against civilian population must serve as enough evidence to the member states at Human Rights Council to start time bound plans of actions to pressurize the Taliban de-facto authorities for an immediate end of these human rights abuses and violations,” said Yamini Mishra.
Amnesty International emphasizes that the findings in the Special Rapporteur’s report… must serve as enough evidence to the Human Rights Council
to start time bound plans of actions
to pressurize the Taliban for an immediate
end of the human rights abuses and violations.
As member states meet today at Human Rights Council 51 session, over 850,000 girls above grade six in Afghanistan are being denied their right to education. As elders and communities in Paktia province decided to re-open secondary schools for girls, the Taliban de-facto authorities once again closed these schools, used violence against girl student protestors and detained journalists reporting the girl students’ protest. This is in addition to exclusion of women from work, traveling, political and public participation and much more. Musicians, artists and those associated with cultural sites are at risk too according to the report, despite assurances by the Taliban one year ago, that the country would not lapse into the violations of cultural rights that were seen twenty years ago. All of these have been documented by the Special Rapporteur as well as Amnesty international in its various reports in since the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021.
Reports of shrinking civic space, arrest and beating of protestors including women, targeting of journalists and silencing of media which have also been documented by the Special Rapporteur, further underscores previous Amnesty documentation of these human rights violations in the country. This reflects the continued indifference of the Taliban to their legal obligations to respect and protect the rights of Afghan people under international human rights law.
The international community must seize the opportunity presented by the Special Rapporteur’s report to the human rights council and action upon his recommendations.
“Afghanistan stands at crossroads one year after the Taliban forcibly took control of the country. The need for further supporting the mandate of the Special Rapporteur as well as the need for more concerted efforts to close the accountability gap is clear. The international community must seize the opportunity presented by the Special Rapporteur’s report to the human rights council and action upon his recommendations. Without an inclusive government and adequate legal frameworks, protections and institutions, the rights of the Afghan people will continue to be trampled upon,” said Yamini Mishra.
Since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, there have been widespread human rights violations documented by Amnesty International including rights of minorities and women and girls, enforced disappearances, torture, unlawful killings and arbitrary arrests particularly in areas such as the Panjshir, attack on freedom of speech and expression and persecution of ethnic and religious minorities.
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan was appointed during the 49th session of the Human Rights Council in April 2022 and presented his first report on 12 September 2022 at the 51st session of the Human Rights Council.