UN Human Rights concerned over arbitrary arrest of activists in Afghanistan

UN Human Rights Office concerned over arbitrary arrests of activists by Taliban

The United Nations Human Rights Office issued a statement on Wednesday, expressing concern over the arbitrary arrests of civil society activists by the Taliban and women’s rights situation in Afghanistan. The UN office called for the immediate release of the detained activists.

“We are alarmed by the ongoing arbitrary arrests and detentions of civil society activists and media workers in Afghanistan, in particular the targeting of those who speak out against the de facto authorities’ discriminatory policies restricting women and girls’ access to education, work and most other areas of public and daily life,” the statement said.

“We call for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained, no one should be detained for speaking out in defence of their fundamental rights and the rights of others,” it added.

Highlighting the number of recent detainees as “concerning”, the UN office said these detentions by the Taliban are arbitrary arrests as per the international human rights law.

“A concerning number of civil society activists and media workers have been detained since early 2023,” the statement noted, pointing to the arrest of education activist, Matiullah Wesa, as an example.

Other activists and journalists, including Nargis Sadat, Zakaria Osuli, Sultan Ali Ziaee, Khairullah Parhar, and Mortaza Behboudi, have also been detained over the past few months. There is no clear information on their whereabouts, well-being, and on the circumstances that led to their arrests.

According to the UN office, the Taliban is not respecting the international human rights treaties to which Afghanistan is a part.

According to human rights laws, the office stated, the human rights of prisoners, including the rights to information about the reason for detention, the rights to be promptly informed of any charges against them, the rights of access to family and legal representation, must be respected and adhered.