UN: The death of nine human rights defenders since the beginning of this year marks “the emergence of a truly alarming trend”, an independent UN rights expert said on Friday, calling on Afghanistan to prevent any further killings. “Already by August, Afghanistan has far exceeded last year’s figures”, said Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. She issued a joint statement with three other UN Human Rights Council-mandated Special Rapporteurs, saying that “impunity allows the perpetuation of such crimes and implies a lack of recognition for human rights defenders’ role in society”. Noting that investigations in many cases have not yet yielded any results, they spelled out: “There needs to be full accountability for such egregious violations of human rights”. Click here to read more (external link).