Human Rights Day: UNAMA urges Taliban to adhere to human rights obligations

The UN Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement on Sunday reiterated its call on the Taliban to uphold human rights obligations as the cornerstone of a stable, peaceful and prosperous future for Afghanistan.

On the occasion of Human Rights Day and the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNAMA expressed deep concern over the dire human rights situation in Afghanistan.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on December 10, 1948, by the United Nations General Assembly, emphasizes that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Afghanistan, a historic supporter of its adoption among UN members, played a crucial role in inspiring subsequent human rights treaties.

Roza Otunbayeva, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA, emphasized that Afghanistan remains committed to international human rights treaties. She underscored the legal obligation and broader responsibility of the de facto authorities to promote and protect human rights, particularly those of women and girls.

“The de facto authorities have both a legal obligation and a broader responsibility to all who live in Afghanistan to promote and protect human rights, in particular those of women and girls,” Otunbayeva stated.

“Human rights must be upheld to ensure the future prosperity, cohesion, and stability of Afghanistan,” she added.

Despite reported improvements in the security situation, UNAMA noted that the human rights situation in Afghanistan remains dire. The statement highlighted systemic discrimination against women and girls, who are excluded from most areas of daily and public life.

UNAMA continues to document serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture, ill-treatment, corporal punishment, arbitrary arrests, and detention. The organization also noted that advocates for human rights, especially women and girls, face arbitrary arrests, threats, and censorship.

“As we mark Human Rights Day, we pay tribute to and express our solidarity with Afghan human rights defenders, many of whom are paying a heavy price for seeking to uphold the fundamental tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: peace, justice, and freedom,” said Fiona Frazer, Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Afghanistan.