The top United Nations human rights official says she has received credible reports of serious violations committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, including summary executions of civilians and restrictions on women and on protests against their rule.
Michelle Bachelet gave no details of executions in her speech to the Human Rights Council, but urged the Geneva forum to set up a mechanism to closely monitor Taliban actions.
The Taliban treatment of women would be “a fundamental red line”, she said.
“There are grave fears for women, for journalists and for the new generation of civil society leaders who have emerged in the past years,” Bachelet told the forum’s emergency session, held at the request of Pakistan and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
“Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and religious minorities are also at risk of violence and repression, given previous patterns of serious violations under Taliban rule and reports of killings and targeted attacks in recent months,” she said.
🇦🇫#Afghanistan: UN Human Rights Chief @mbachelet calls for a dedicated mechanism to closely monitor the evolving human rights situation, including the Taliban's implementation of its promises, with a focus on prevention.
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) August 24, 2021
Nasir Ahmad Andisha, a senior Afghan diplomat from the deposed government, called for accountability for Taliban actions, describing an “uncertain and dire” situation where millions of people fear for their lives.
Independent UN human rights experts, in a joint statement, said that many people were in hiding fearing reprisals as “the Taliban continues to search homes door-to-door”.
“Searches, arrests, harassment and intimidation as well as seizures of property and reprisals are already being reported,” they said.
The council will consider a draft resolution, submitted by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC, that voices concern at reports of violations.
But it does not mention the Taliban by name, nor would it set up a fact-finding mission to probe them.
Instead, it calls on Ms Bachelet to report back to the forum at its March 2022 session and urges all parties to respect human rights law including “the full and meaningful participation of women” and of minorities.
“We were hoping for a stronger text, it is extremely minimalist and we are disappointed,” a Western diplomat told Reuters as heated negotiations continued on the text.