Credible reports of executions of civilians by Taliban: UN human rights chief

  • Michelle Bachelet said she has received reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law which include summary executions of civilians and restrictions on the rights of women.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet delivers a speech at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Afghanistan.(AFP)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet delivers a speech at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Afghanistan.(AFP)
Published on Aug 24, 2021 03:57 PM IST
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By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kunal Gaurav

The top UN human rights officials on Tuesday said she has received “credible reports” of summary executions of civilians by the Taliban as their actions raise fears of a “return to past patterns of human rights violations”.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, told a special session of the UN human rights council that the civilian casualties between January 1 and June 30 rose by nearly 50 per cent compared to the same period in 2020, suggesting the toll further increased over the months of July and August when the Taliban intensified their offensive to take the effective control of Afghanistan.

Bachelet said she has received reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law which include summary executions of civilians and restrictions on the rights of women. She didn’t divulge details of the executions during her speech but urged the Council to set up a dedicated mechanism to closely monitor the evolving human rights situation in Afghanistan. The top UN human rights official asserted that the treatment of women and girls by the Taliban would be a “fundamental red line.”

“I strongly urge the Taliban to adopt norms of responsive governance and human rights, and to work to re-establish social cohesion and reconciliation – including through respect for the rights of all who have suffered during the decades of conflict,” she said.

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The Taliban’s return has stoked fears of reprisal and Afghanistan’s return to the era when girls were not allowed in schools and women in workplaces under their harsh version of Islamic law. While the Islamist fundamentalists have promised inclusivity, they have repeatedly underlined that any freedom to women will be in accordance with the “genuine Islamic system”.

Bachelet stressed the need for the government to remain inclusive, which means meaningful participation of women, and representation of Afghanistan's diverse communities.

“There should be genuine, inclusive dialogue, including women, and including members of Afghanistan's diverse ethnic and religious communities, in order to address the underlying problems that the country faces, the root causes of discrimination, and the enduring legacies of decades of conflict,” she added.

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Monday, October 25, 2021