The United Nations human rights chief warned Tuesday that she had credible reports of “summary executions” and strict restrictions on women in areas under Taliban control in Afghanistan.
High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet told an emergency meeting of the Human Rights Council that the reported executions were of civilians as well as former security forces who were no longer fighting.
Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and religious minorities were particularly at risk of violence and repression, she said, citing reports of killings and targeted attacks in recent months.
Child soldiers are known to be among those recruited, and peaceful protests quashed, she said while calling for a special mission to closely monitor the Islamic militant group’s actions.
Bachelet did not specify the timeframe or source of her claims. Her warning, however, came amid disturbing reports of rampant violence and human rights violations directly contradicting the Taliban’s promise of an amnesty as well as peace and a role for women in society.
“The onus is now fully on the Taliban to translate these commitments into reality,” Bachelet told the 47-member-state council, which is the UN’s top human rights body.
“At this critical moment, the people of Afghanistan look to the Human Rights Council to defend and protect their rights,” she said.
Nasir Ahmad Andisha, a senior Afghan diplomat from the deposed government, called for accountability for Taliban actions, describing an “uncertain and dire” situation where millions of people fear for their lives.
Independent UN human rights experts, in a joint statement, said that many people were in hiding as “the Taliban continues to search homes door-to-door” and that violent reprisals were being reported.
Speaking on behalf of more than 60 countries, Spanish Ambassador Aurora Diaz-Rato called for the “immediate cessation of targeted killings of women’s rights defenders,” Agence France-Presse said.
Some members were outraged, however, at an initial draft resolution that does not even mention the Taliban by name, and suggests reporting back at the main annual council session next March, rather than the special fact-finding mechanism its high commissioner is calling for.
Shaharzad Akbar, chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, called the current draft resolution a “travesty.”
“The least the special session can do is to illustrate through actions to Afghans that they will not look away,” Akbar told the meeting. “Please ensure this session has a credible and strong outcome.”
Some countries held back from a stronger response through fear of reprisals from the Taliban that would jeopardize ongoing evacuations from the country, several diplomatic sources told AFP.
With Post wires
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