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Human rights defenders red flag Taliban militant group



INTERNATIONAL human rights defenders have raised concerns over continued attack and violation of women and children rights in Afghanistan by a militant group called Taliban.

The International Bar Association (IBA) and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) called on international bodies to hold the Taliban accountable to its pledges to protect rights of the women and children.

Following the group’s seizure of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, the Taliban promised that it would respect women’s rights “within its religious framework”.

A United Nations (UN) report in July revealed that more women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since 2009.

The Taliban reportedly amputated, executed and hunted down citizens who advocated for the rule of law and promotion of universal human rights which include members of the Judiciary, legal professionals, human rights defenders, non-governmental organisation workers and media practitioners.

IBA president Sternford Moyo, in a statement, called for the establishment of a UN special envoy to monitor human rights violations in Afghanistan.

“Beyond being horrified by the shocking scenes of the sheer desperation of many of Afghanistan’s citizens attempting to flee their homeland by hanging on to a taxiing American C-17 transport aircraft, we call on the international community to improve co-ordination in providing safe passage and havens to those who worked hard to build a more inclusive society in Afghanistan with respect for the rule of law and an individual rights,” Moyo said.

“Also, we call for the establishment of a United Nations special envoy on Afghanistan for the monitoring of civilians killed and human rights breaches.”

IBA executive director Mark Ellis said the Taliban’s pledge to protect the rights of women was open to different interpretations hence the need to ensure that the promise was compatible with international treaties against human right violations.

“The Taliban has uttered assurances to the world including that women’s rights will be respected. However, the language is vague and it is likely that different provinces will institute their own interpretations of this and other guarantees,” Ellis said.

“The gains achieved to date in Afghanistan towards genuine expansion to a more inclusive society require continued adherence to international human rights principles, including those found in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These guarantees must not be allowed to simply disappear.”

The IBA and IBAHRI called for swifter and better co-ordinated action by the United States of America (USA) in opening up more routes to safe havens and expediting visas for the transfer and resettlement of Afghans desperate to flee the country.

As of Sunday, the USA had flown nearly 28 000 people out of the airport.

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