UN Report Details Taliban Abuses in Afghanistan


The first report by Richard Bennett, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, was made public this week. It is a list of atrocities committed by the Taliban government since August 2021 and the terrible effects they had on Afghans.
The report also emphasizes the country’s economic crises’ terrible humanitarian effects, which were exacerbated in part by foreign governments’ activities, and notes that “all parties hold degrees of responsibility for failing to achieve economic and social rights.”

The report notes that “in no other country have women and girls so rapidly disappeared from all spheres of public life,” echoing a recent statement by UN experts describing “widespread, systematic and all-encompassing” attacks on the rights of women and girls. The report describes “staggering regression in women and girls’ enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,” and notes that “in no other country have women and girls so rapidly disappeared from all spheres of public life.”
In addition to other rights issues, the report describes Taliban abuses against former government officials, journalists, and religious minorities.
I worked in Afghanistan before the initial Taliban administration was overthrown in 2001, thus I have first-hand knowledge of Taliban brutality. The specifics of the report are very well known.
The Taliban do not recognize the rule of law. Even the definition of “the law” is unclear. It has been unclear which rules and regulations are in effect as well as how crimes are to be dealt with since last year, when the Taliban repealed the nation’s constitution and declared that all laws must adhere to Sharia, or Islamic law.

According to the UN assessment, there are only “changing and arbitrarily interpreted norms and decrees,” judicial issues “are handled idiosyncratically across jurisdictions and venues,” and simple crimes are “frequently dealt with by security personnel without consulting prosecutors or judges.”
In other words, whatever a Taliban official says constitutes “the law.” It’s difficult to think of an instance where human rights are more in danger.
The report’s recommendations should be properly considered by the Taliban leadership. They should defend religious minorities, end harsh policies that undermine women’s and girls’ rights, and work with the special rapporteur and other UN offices to develop reforms. These actions should be taken immediately.
Later this month, the UN Human Rights Council is scheduled to consider the report’s findings. States should seize this chance to extend the special rapporteur’s mandate and create a new organization that will look into abuses and advance accountability.
Afghans deserve better than what the Taliban have provided them with—a life with few liberties, a lack of true justice, and a country where half the people is excluded from access to both education and employment.

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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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