UN: Taliban’s violations of human rights ‘intentional and calculated’

Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan, presented his second report on the state of human rights in Afghanistan in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday. 

Speaking at the 52nd Human Rights Council session, Richard Bennett said: “In Afghanistan today, there is little tolerance of difference, and none for dissent. This, together with the arrest and detention of activists instills fear in the community and has a chilling effect on the overall enjoyment of fundamental freedoms.”

Richard Bennett warned that the Taliban’s violations of human rights, especially women, were “intentional and calculated”.

The report said: “The recent edicts banning women and girls from all education beyond the primary level, access to parks, gyms and public baths and working for NGOs deepen existing flagrant violations of women’s human rights, already among the most draconian in the world.

“Instead of taking steps to eliminate discrimination against women, the authorities are normalizing it.”

Ethnic and religious minorities, including the Hazaras, Sikh, and Sufi communities, remain vulnerable to systematic and widespread discrimination, the report said. 

The Special Rapporteur he said in the report that he was “deeply concerned about continued threats and attacks, both physical and verbal, against religious minorities, including the Hazara Shia and other Shia Muslims, and against Sikh and Sufi groups.”

He emphasized that more needed to be done to protect these communities. 

Earlier on Monday, Amnesty International reiterated its call for action against the Taliban for “relentless abuses”. 

Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said: “The human rights situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly, and the Taliban’s relentless abuses continue every single day.

The Taliban has not commented on the report.