HRC49: oral statement on the Human Rights situation in Afghanistan

Oral statement delivered by International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), on behalf of Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Human Rights Watch, FIDH, and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), for the Interactive Dialogue on Afghanistan held during the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Mr President,

Our organizations continue to be appalled by the human rights crisis in Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban’s violent takeover of the country on 15 August, they have dismantled important gains made on the human rights front over the past 20 years. The situation is particularly grave for human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society organizations, who have been at the forefront of the efforts to expand and protect fundamental freedoms and rights. Those who have not been able to leave the country and who are continuing to report on human rights violations are doing so under tremendous risk, putting their lives in danger to ensure that we still know what is going on inside the country. Their voices must be heard.

The Taliban is increasingly resorting to violent means to frighten the population into silence, including the enforced disappearances of HRDs, particularly women’s rights activists, arbitrary detentions and torture of journalists, extrajudicial killings of former government security forces and officials, and crackdown on peaceful protests. The crackdown on the rights of women and girls continues to intensify, with new restrictions on their freedom of movement, and rights to education, health, and work. Over the past week, the Taliban have undertaken a systematic campaign of house-to-house searches in Kabul and other major cities, destroying private property, intimidating residents, and violating their right to privacy.

The Human Rights Council (HCR) must continue to monitor this crisis and ensure that the Taliban is held to account for these human rights violations. We welcome the forthcoming appointment of a UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Afghanistan, and ask the Council to work with the mandate to identify further means of investigating these violations and seeking accountability.

Thank you.

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