Afghanistan: Watchdog says human rights situation declining ‘rapidly’

Samangan province, Afghanistan. File photo.

Amnesty International has raised its concerns about the “deteriorating” human rights situation in Afghanistan, calling on the international community “to act towards ending impunity and ensuring justice for victims of Taliban abuses”.

In a statement released on Sunday, Amnesty International stated that the human rights situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly, and the Taliban’s “relentless abuses continue every single day.”

According to the organization, the Taliban have “arbitrarily” arrested women’s rights advocates, academics, and civil activists in recent months.

“Many have been arbitrarily arrested, with no legal remedy or access to their families. They are believed to have been detained for publicly criticizing the Taliban’s policies,” the statement said.

Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said: “The human rights situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly, and the Taliban’s relentless abuses continue every single day.”

“Recently, people publicly critical of the Taliban’s abusive rules have been arrested without any reasons given, while the suffocating crackdown on the rights of women and girls, and targeted executions of ethnic Hazara people also continue unchecked. It is clear that the Taliban are not willing nor able to investigate actions by their members that grossly violate the human rights of Afghanistan’s population,” Callamard added.

“While the Special Rapporteur continues to do valuable work under extremely difficult conditions, more is now required to meet the enormous challenge of documenting and recording human rights abuses in Afghanistan. The creation of a fact-finding mission is essential, with a focus on the collection and preservation of evidence to ensure justice is delivered,” she said.

Last week, Amnesty International also called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to urgently establish an independent investigative mechanism in Afghanistan to probe human rights violations carried out by Taliban members.

The organization stated the investigative mechanism must “establish the facts and circumstances relating to allegations of crimes under international law, to identify potential perpetrators, and to collect, consolidate, preserve, and analyze evidence for future international justice.

Amnesty International stated that the Taliban did not uphold their commitment to respecting human rights after they took control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

The group has recently arrested Narges Sadat, a women’s rights defender; Professor Ismail Mashal, a campaigner for women’s education; Fardin Fedayee, a civil society activist; Zekria Asoli, an author and activist; Mortaza Behboudi, an Afghan-French journalist; former senator Qais Khan Wakili; and Afghan journalist Muhammad Yar Majroh.

“Amnesty International understands only Professor Ismail Mashal has been released. In many cases of detention, no information is provided regarding the reason for the individual’s arrest and their whereabouts often remain unknown, which amounts to enforced disappearance,” the statement said.