Afghanistan, a country that has seen gross violations and abuses of human rights for decades, entered a new chapter on 15 August 2021, when the Taliban captured its capital Kabul, and overthrew the civilian government. With President Ashraf Ghani fleeing hours after the Taliban entered Kabul, the city effectively fell under the rule of the Taliban.
The past 20 years had resulted in some progress on human rights in the country, particularly women’s rights, but the conflict has also seen tens of thousands of civilian deaths and the commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious human rights violations and abuses by all parties. The 20-year war is estimated to have taken the lives of at least 47,245 civilians with many more injured, in addition to over 66,000 Afghan national military and police, 51,191 Taliban and other fighters, 72 journalists, 444 aid workers and 3,846 US contractors.
Afghanistan is one of the world’s most impoverished countries and currently faces a crisis of food insufficiency and hunger, due to the combined effects of drought, decades of conflict, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the withdrawal of much international aid in the wake of the recent collapse of the government.
Since their takeover on 15 August, the Taliban promised in several press conferences and statements that they assure a general amnesty for all previous government workers, respect for women’s rights in accordance with their interpretation of Sharia law, and that journalists would be protected.
Contrary to this reassurance, the Taliban continued to crackdown on journalists and tortured them for reporting about protests in the country. Female protestors took to the streets demanding equality and freedom in Nimroz, Kabul, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and other cities and provinces in Afghanistan despite violent crackdowns on protestors on 2 and 6 September in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Amnesty International is calling on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to take decisive action to establish a robust independent investigative mechanism to monitor and report on human rights abuses committed in violation of international human rights law, and to contribute to accountability for crimes under international law.
Human rights defenders, journalists, and others who are targeted for their work must be evacuated and given safe passage if they wish to leave Afghanistan; and women and girls, and ethnic and religious minorities who are targeted because of their gender, ethnic, and religious identity, must be guaranteed protection. All those who wish to leave Afghanistan must be assured the right to seek asylum. At the same time, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court must receive assistance from the international community to immediately recommence its investigations into crimes under international law committed in Afghanistan.
Responding to the deaths of at least six people and the injury of 11 others, including children, following bomb blasts in schools in predominantly Hazara Shiite communities in Kabul today, Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, said:
Schoolgirls in Afghanistan told Amnesty International that the Taliban’s backtrack on reopening schools for girls has left them “shattered” and “traumatized.”
Catastrophic attacks on human rights and gender equality over the past twelve months have lowered protection for and upped threats against women and girls across the globe, Amnesty International said today.
Essential services for women and girl survivors of gender-based violence in Afghanistan have been decimated following the Taliban’s takeover of the country, Amnesty International said today.
The international community must urgently ease existing financial restrictions on Afghanistan that are blocking the provision of healthcare, food and other essential services, and expedite delivery of scaled-up humanitarian assistance to avert a mounting crisis that threatens the lives of tens of millions of people, said Amnesty International.
Yesterday, senior defense officials concluded there was no misconduct among U.S. military personnel who conducted a drone strike on August 29 in Kabul that killed 10 civilians.
Nearly two months since airlift operations in Afghanistan ended, those left behind face formidable obstacles to seeking safety outside the country, Amnesty International said today. In an advocacy briefing, the organization highlights how neighboring countries have closed their borders to Afghans without travel documents, leaving many with no choice but to make irregular crossings. Instead of granting protection to people who arrive on their territory in this way - as required by international law - countries across Europe and Central Asia have subjected Afghans to illegal pushbacks, detention and deportation.
Girls in Afghanistan must be allowed to return to secondary school and continue their education, Amnesty International said today as it published new testimonies from pupils and teachers documenting Taliban threats and violence.
Today, Congress passed a continuing resolution that includes funding to support Afghans arriving to the United States and ensures that Afghans arriving on humanitarian parole have access to refugee resettlement benefits.
The Taliban are steadily dismantling the human rights gains of the last twenty years, said Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) in a new briefing published today, which documents the group’s wide-ranging crackdown since their seizure of Kabul little more than five weeks ago.