The international community must dramatically increase efforts to urge the de facto authorities in Afghanistan to adhere to basic human rights principles, a group of UN independent rights experts said. “The future is immensely bleak for Afghans if more is not done by the international community to ensure the Taliban changes its modus operandi and complies with its human rights obligations,” they said in a statement.
The 20 experts who issued the statement were all appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. They include Richard Bennett, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan. The experts recalled that following the Taliban takeover last August, they had appealed for the international community to take “stringent actions” to protect Afghans from violations such as arbitrary detention, summary executions, internal displacement, and unlawful restrictions on their human rights. “One year later, we reiterate this call,” they said. “Despite making numerous commitments to uphold human rights, the Taliban have not only failed to deliver on their promises, they have also reversed much of the progress made in the past two decades”.
Moreover, the humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan, which has already caused immeasurable harm to millions, shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it is predicted to worsen, they added, partly due to the interruption of international assistance and the freezing of Afghan assets abroad. The experts said the Taliban have committed a “plethora” of human rights violations, with the virtual erasure of women and girls from society, as well as their systematic oppression, being particularly egregious.
“Indeed, the daily reports of violence – including extra-judicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, heightened risks of exploitation faced by women and girls including for the purposes of child and forced marriage, and a breakdown in the rule of law – gives us no confidence that the Taliban has any intention of making good on its pledge to respect human rights.”
Citizens now have no means for redress as the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has been abolished, along with other independent oversight mechanism and institutions. The experts pointed to other violations, such as the curtailing of press freedom, and the rise in attacks on religious and ethnic minorities, some of which were claimed by the ISIL-KP terrorist group. They also highlighted how journalists, activists, academics and artists have either left the country, quit their work, or gone into hiding.
The experts have called for the Taliban to fully implement human rights standards, including respecting the rights of women and girls to education, employment and participation in public life