UN Secretary General Says Afghanistan Must Deliver on Commitments to Equality and Justice

The latest: In his latest report on Afghanistan, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the country must deliver on its commitments to international principles, norms and standards against discrimination, inequity, inequality, injustice and impunity.

Let’s deep dive into the developments:

  • Security situation: The Secretary General in his report said that the de facto authorities continue to maintain security control over virtually the entire national territory, however serious concerns remain over the presence of foreign terrorist groups in Afghanistan and risks of weapons proliferation emanating from Afghanistan and the degree to which the de facto authorities are willing and able to address these concerns.
  • “The de facto authorities must take more concrete actions on the security and political fronts, including engaging in counter-terrorism dialogue with the region and the international community to strengthen cooperation in countering these threats, while complying with their obligations under international law,” the report added.
  • The report also highlighted the ongoing harm inflicted on Afghans by targeted attacks on civilians and stated that it remains deeply concerning. Improvised explosive device attacks against civilian targets or in civilian areas violate international law and must cease immediately, the report stated.
  • During the reporting period, UNAMA documented 530 civilian casualties (124 killed; 406 wounded). The leading causes were improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance.
  • Between 17 August and 13 November, the United Nations recorded 1,587 security-related incidents, a 23 per cent increase from 1,291 incidents recorded during the same period in 2021. Armed clashes increased by 27 per cent, from 99 to 126; airstrikes by 25 per cent, from 4 to 5; detonations of improvised explosive devices by 7 per cent, from 74 to 79. Assassinations decreased by 53 per cent, from 160 to 75. The Western, Southern and Eastern regions accounted for 52 per cent of recorded incidents, with Kabul, Herat and Kandahar being the most affected provinces
  • Hazaras: “I call on the de facto authorities to uphold their obligations to protect all Afghans by implementing adequate protection measures, in particular for places of worship, educational facilities and communities facing heightened risks, such as Hazaras,” Guterres said.
  • Extra-judicial killings: The report emphasised that although the de facto authorities have taken steps towards establishing investigative mechanisms to address alleged human rights violations in Panjshir Province, they so far fall short of providing accountability for extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and torture and ill-treatment. It urged the Taliban to uphold their obligations to promote and protect the human rights of all Afghans, to investigate violations transparently and prevent their reoccurrence in the future.
  • UNAMA also documented at least 9 extrajudicial killings, at least 5 cases of torture and ill-treatment and at least 29 arbitrary arrests and detentions carried out by the de facto authorities against former government officials and Afghan National Defence and Security Forces members, in violation of the general amnesty announced in August 2021.
  • UNAMA documented 69 extrajudicial killings, 14 arbitrary arrests and detentions and 6 instances of torture and ill-treatment of individuals accused of affiliation with the National Resistance Front.
  • Protests: The UN Secretary General said that using Taliban using force against protestors is concerning and urged the de facto authorities to respect the independence of media and civil society organizations, as well as Afghans’ rights to peaceful assembly.
  • Since 23 August 2022, UNAMA documented seven instances of arbitrary arrest and detention and six instances of ill-treatment and threats against civil society actors and human rights defenders, as well as seven instances of arbitrary arrest and detention and four instances of ill-treatment and threats against journalists. Over half of the 20 peaceful protests recorded in Kabul and other cities, mainly organized by women, were dispersed by unnecessary or disproportionate use of force by the de facto authorities.
  • Women: The Secretary General has urged Taliban to review the mahram and Islamic hijab directives and clarify their recommendatory, non-mandatory nature, and to facilitate girls’ access to all levels of education, women’s employment and participation in governance and other areas of the daily life of the nation.
  • Justice system: The report stressed that Taliban have shifted to corporal punishments and said that only fair and impartial justice systems are essential to the rule of law, which in turn is a foundational element of a peaceful society.
  • Humanitarian crisis: Guterres said that the humanitarian response plan of $4.4 billion remains only 54.1 per cent funded, with a shortfall of some $2.04 billion, despite the $2.4 billion in pledges made in March. “I urge donors to renew their support to scale-up and deliver the life-saving response ahead of winter and to expand support for essential services and the preservation of the community systems through which humanitarian assistance is delivered,” said Guterres. The report listed that the humanitarian situation remains of concern as Afghanistan enters its third consecutive year of drought-like conditions and its second year of economic contraction, with families unable to recover from recurring disasters and decades of conflict-driven vulnerability, and facing another winter. The 2023 humanitarian response planning figures show that two thirds of the population, or 28.3 million people, will need humanitarian and protection assistance in 2023, up from 24.4 million in 2022 and 18.4 million at the beginning of 2021.
  • Economy: On the economic front, the report highlighted that the economy shows signs of slowly stabilizing, albeit at a much lower level of economic activity than prior to August 2021. Most factors adversely affecting the economy since August 2021 persist, such as the steep reduction in development aid, international financial transactions challenges, the impact on the banking sector and skilled workforce shortages, it added. It also stated that exports to India and Pakistan are higher than in the previous year.
  • The report emphasised that the UNDP-managed inter-agency Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan remains a critical financing platform for the 2022 United Nations Transitional Engagement Framework for Afghanistan. It has so far received $126.23 million from contributing partners, supporting 1 million people in Afghanistan.

Zoom out: The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss the report on December 20.

  • Roza Otunbayeva, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, will also deliver her remarks on the situation there.
+ posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Human Rights