Middle East/North Africa

UN rights monitor warns of abuses including ‘summary executions’ in areas under Taliban control

A Taliban fighter walks past a beauty saloon with images of women's faces defaced using black spray paint
Getty Images

A United Nations human rights official on Tuesday warned of reports she described as credible that allege that the Taliban carried out “summary executions” and other violations in Afghanistan.

Michelle Bachelet called on the Human Rights Council to closely monitor the Taliban, which took control of Afghanistan just more than a week ago, and to take “bold and vigorous action,” according to The Associated Press.

“At this critical moment, the people of Afghanistan look to the Human Rights Council to defend and protect their rights,” she said. “I urge this council to take bold and vigorous action, commensurate with the gravity of this crisis, by establishing a dedicated mechanism to closely monitor the evolving human rights situation in Afghanistan.”

Bachelet referenced the possibility of the council appointing a commission of inquiry, a fact-finding mission or a special rapporteur in order to further watch the rights situation in Afghanistan, the AP noted.

She said that there have been reports of “summary executions” of former security forces and civilians as well as restrictions on women, recruitment of child soldiers and repression of peaceful protests under the Taliban, according to the news service.

“There are grave fears for women, for journalists and for the new generation of civil society leaders who have emerged in the past years,” Bachelet said during an emergency session on Tuesday, which was held at the request of Pakistan and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Reuters reported.

U.N. human rights experts released a joint statement agreeing with Bachelet’s reports, saying that people within Afghanistan have begun hiding out in fear of reprisals.

“Searches, arrests, harassment and intimidation as well as seizures of property and reprisals are already being reported,” they said, according to Reuters.

The council is set to consider a Organisation of Islamic Cooperation draft resolution that shows concern about the incidents. It asks for Bachelet to provide the forum a report during its March 2022 session and calls for all parties to respect “the full and meaningful participation of women” and all human rights law.

“We were hoping for a stronger text; it is extremely minimalist and we are disappointed,” a Western diplomat told Reuters.

Tags Afghanistan Taliban United Nations

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