Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
March 6, 2023
Amnesty International has urged the UN Human Rights Council to address “relentless abuses” by the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan.
In a statement announcing its new report, the rights watchdog demanded that the UN council “establish an independent investigative mechanism in Afghanistan at the earliest opportunity, with a focus on evidence preservation to pursue international justice.”
It cited a “wave of arrests” and “unlawful detentions” of women’s rights defenders, academics, and activists.
Amnesty International also cited fresh evidence of attacks on civilians in the Panjshir region where military resistance to the Taliban has been historically strong, “including abductions and enforced disappearances” that “are still being committed as the Taliban’s conflict with the National Resistance Front (NRF) continues.”
It cited its own investigation into mass killings of ethnic Hazaras by Taliban fighters in the Ghazni, Ghor, and Daykundi provinces where perpetrators have evaded justice.
It said the preservation of evidence “is key to pursue international justice.”
Persistent abuses and denial of the most basic rights for women and minorities have continued and even accelerated in the 18 months since the Taliban swept to power as the U.S.-led international troops withdrew and the UN-backed Afghan government collapsed and fled, leaving millions of Afghans already battered by decades of conflict to fend for themselves.
Just this week, international officials have been frustrated by the Taliban’s refusal to allow women and girls to attend school as universities reopened in Afghanistan.
“It is time for the international community to follow up their repeated public statements with concrete action,” Amnesty quoted its secretary-general, Agnes Callamard, as saying.
“The international community should act soon to establish a UN-mandated international fact-finding and evidence preservation mechanism to ensure independent investigations and prosecutions are possible,” she said. “The current accountability gap is allowing grave violations and abuses in Afghanistan to continue unabated, and it must be urgently closed.”
The UN Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva, is the only global intergovernmental rights organization but has no legally binding powers over UN member states.
With reporting by AP