The latest: Amnesty International in its annual report discussed Afghanistan’s situation in the past two years from 2021-2022 and the generic assessment of the international organization indicates that the human rights situation is rapidly deteriorating in this country. It stated that since the Taliban came back into power in Afghanistan, 237 people have been killed without trial.
- The report stated that restrictions on women’s rights, freedom of the media and freedom of expression increased exponentially and Institutions designed to support human rights were severely limited or shut down completely.
- “Peaceful protesters faced arbitrary arrests, torture and enforced disappearance. The Taliban conducted extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests, torture and unlawful detention of perceived opponents with impunity, creating an atmosphere of fear,” it added.
Extrajudicial executions: Under the Taliban, extrajudicial executions of people associated with the former government, members of armed groups such as the National Resistance Front (NRF), Islamic State of Khorasan Province (IS-KP) and those allegedly not following the Taliban’s rules appeared to be widespread and systematic, the report stated.
- This included Afghans associated with the former government or former security forces. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recorded at least 237 extrajudicial executions between the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021 and 15 June 2022. In December, the UN reported at least another 69 extrajudicial killings primarily of NRF members, 48 of which had occurred between 12 and 14 September in Panjshir province.
- “Following the extrajudicial killings the Taliban claimed that they were rebels, despite the fact that all those killed were civilians. The attacks clearly constituted a war crime,” the report emphasized. Media reported that civilians in the area were evicted and their homes taken over to be used as police and military installations, it highlighted and stated that the Taliban authorities also tortured to death civilians in Panjshir province, according to media reports.
Unlawful attacks and killings: Between August 2021 and June 2022, UNAMA recorded 2,106 civilian casualties. Many were people killed by the IS-KP, which continued to carry out systematic and targeted attacks on minority ethnic and religious groups, including by bombing religious and educational centres and attacking public transportation taken by these groups. Such instances included an attack on a Sikh temple in the capital, Kabul, on 18 June and the bombing of an education centre in a primarily Hazara neighbourhood on 30 September, the report said. The Taliban authorities failed to investigate these attacks or take adequate steps to protect minorities.
Death penalty, torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment: The report also touched upon how the Taliban began publicly executing and flogging people for crimes such as murder, theft, “illegitimate” relationships or violations of social norms. Between 18 November and 16 December 2022, more than 100 people were publicly flogged in stadiums in several provinces, according to UN human rights experts.
Freedom of expression, association and assembly: According to the report, the space for free media shrank drastically as the Taliban created an increasingly intimidating environment, forcing many media outlets to close. It stated that journalists faced growing restrictions including arbitrary arrest, unlawful detentions and torture in response to reporting that criticized the Taliban, leading many to self-censor and that journalists were beaten and faced other forms of torture while detained. Many journalists fled the country.
- It also stated that Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), the national human rights institution, remained closed, and the space for civil society organizations to document and report on human rights shrank significantly. It stressed that independent human rights groups were unable to work freely.
- It also added that the Taliban arrested and unlawfully detained those who criticized the Taliban on social media, particularly Facebook and dismantled any space for peaceful assembly, demonstration or gathering.
Women’s and girls’ rights: Amnesty International said that girls remained barred from attending secondary school, and from December, from tertiary education and that the Taliban cracked down on women who protested against these restrictions publicly or on social media, including through beatings, arrests, unlawful detention and arrests of family members.
- The dismantling of former government structures, including the MoWA and the AIHRC, and the conversion of the judicial system into the religious-based sharia system, reduced the protections previously available to women and girls, the report added. This led to an increase in reports of domestic violence and forced marriages.
Right to health: The report also touched upon how the government takeover by the Taliban continued to be deeply damaging to the country’s healthcare system and stated that the Taliban policy on women healthcare workers remained ambiguous and inconsistent.
Refugees and internally displaced people: The report said that large number of Afghans continued to flee the country due to a well-founded fear of persecution by the Taliban. Despite the dangers they were subject to in Afghanistan, other countries continued to deport Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, it added.
LGBTI people’s rights: On LGBTI people in Afghanistan, it said that they continued to face grave human rights violations perpetrated by the Taliban, including threats, targeted attacks, sexual assaults, arbitrary detentions and other violations.
Zoom out: This comes even as Amnesty International also said that although European countries have accepted Ukrainian refugees, they do not treat those fleeing Afghanistan the same.
- It highlighted that double standards on human rights abuses that occur around the world are fuelling impunity and instability.
- Many believe that the beginning of Russia-Ukraine conflict has led the world to pay less attention to the situation in Afghanistan.