Taliban ‘stamping out human rights’ in Afghanistan

afghan women

The Taliban are steadily “dismantling the human rights gains of the last 20 years,” said Amnesty International in a new briefing issued jointly with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), documenting the militant group’s wide-ranging crackdown since their seizure of Kabul little more than five weeks ago. Contrary to the Taliban’s repeated claims that they will respect the rights of Afghans, the briefing, entitled “Afghanistan’s Fall Into the Hands of the Taliban,” details a litany of human rights abuses including targeted killings of civilians and surrendered soldiers, and the blockading of humanitarian supplies into the Panjshir Valley, which constitute crimes under international law. Restrictions have also been re-imposed on women, freedom of expression and civil society.

“In just over five weeks since assuming control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have clearly demonstrated that they are not serious about protecting or respecting human rights. We have already seen a wave of violations, from reprisal attacks and restrictions on women, to crackdowns on protests, the media and civil society,” said Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International’s deputy director for South Asia. “The UN Human Rights Council must establish a robust, independent mechanism with a mandate to document, collect and preserve evidence of ongoing crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations and abuses across Afghanistan.”

As a result of a climate of fear bred by the Taliban’s seizure of power, many Afghan women are now wearing the burqa, refraining from leaving the house without a male guardian, and stopping other activities to avoid violence and reprisals. Despite the myriad threats now presented, women across the country have been holding protests.

While some protests have been allowed to continue peacefully, many have been violently repressed by the Taliban. On Sept. 4, approximately 100 women at a protest in Kabul were dispersed by Taliban special forces, who fired into the air and reportedly used tear gas. (Amnesty International, Sept. 20)

Photo: Khaama

  1. Afghanistan’s girls still barred from high schools

    Last month, the Taliban announced schools would be opening, but only boys of all ages were asked to return to school, leaving out secondary school girls. The Taliban said “a safe learning environment” was needed before older girls could return to school. “At present, girls in Afghanistan are effectively barred from returning to secondary school. Across the country, the rights and aspirations of an entire generation of girls are dismissed and crushed,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general. (Al Jazeera, AI)

  2. Taliban raid Afghan bar association

    The president of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association, Rohullah Qarizada, went on Twitter appealing for international assistance after Taliban militants took over the Association’s offices in Kabul. He said “fifty armed Taliban came in AIBA and forcibly took over Bar.” The incursion Nov. 23 came in the wake of a Taliban cabinet directive authorizing the Ministry of Justice to strip the AIBA of its lawyer licensing authority and vest that instead in the Ministry. (Jurist)

  3. Taliban issue warning to human rights groups

    Taliban officials in Panjshir province have issues a notice entitled “WARNING”  to human rights and civil society workers. According to a translation provided by Jurist, it reads: 

    The Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate in Panjshir province are informed thatŘŚindividuals and institutions under the name of civil society or human rights activists and the like operated openly in the previous government and in secret in the current system.

    These people strengthen the Infidel system…. Their work is considered illegal by the Council of Scholars of the Islamic Emirate.

    Therefore, the Mujahideen…are instructed to…pursue them and arrest them as soon as possible to stop their false and anti-religious activities.

    This letter is signed and stamped by the Security Command of the province.

  4. Afghan lawyers demand restoration of bar association

    Lawyers from across Afghanistan have sent letters to the Taliban cabinet seeking the restoration of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association after the Ministry of Justice took over its premises and assumed its lawyer licensing power last week. On Nov. 23, armed Taliban fighters entered the Association’s offices in Kabul, forced objecting lawyers and staff inside to leave, and announced the installation of a new president said to have no professional experience. (Jurist)

  5. Taliban shut down press conference by dissident lawyers

    Armed Taliban fighters broke up a press conference by Afghan lawyers about to start at a Kabul hotel Dec. 5, arresting several of the lawyers in attendance. A group of six lawyers—four women and two men—calling themselves the Afghanistan Bar Association Advocates had called the press conference, inviting media and local NGO and UN representatives to the Esteghlal Hotel near Kabul Airport to hear them state their case against the recent Taliban takeover of the AIBA and the removal of its lawyer licensing authority. About 40 minutes before the scheduled start of the press conference, Taliban fighters arrived in an armored vehicle outside the hotel and surprised the organizers, who had previously obtained permission from the authorities for their event. The lawyers arrested were held for about half an hour before being released. (Jurist)