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24 Aug, 2021 12:48

Credible reports of Taliban executions in Afghanistan – UN human rights chief

Credible reports of Taliban executions in Afghanistan – UN human rights chief

The United Nations human rights boss has spoken of credible reports of serious rights abuses by the Taliban, including "summary executions" of civilians as well as those who served in the now-defunct Afghan security forces.

Speaking on Tuesday, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet urged the Human Rights Council, a Geneva-based forum, to closely monitor the actions of Afghanistan's new rulers, the Taliban.

Bachelet said there had been credible reports that the group was committing human-rights violations, including the "summary execution" of civilians as well as those who served in the defense of the US-backed government.

The UN human rights chief did not give any details about the killings but noted that Afghanistan's ethnic minorities were at risk. She cited a series of targeted attacks and killings in recent months. Bachelet added that the maltreatment of women and girls was also "a fundamental red line." 

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A draft resolution, which calls for Bachelet to report back to the council in March 2022, will be considered by the Geneva-based forum. The resolution does not mention the Taliban by name and makes no provision for a probe into rights abuses in Afghanistan.

The text, which was submitted by Pakistan, also urges parties to respect human rights law including "the full and meaningful participation of women" and minority groups. A western diplomat told Reuters they were disappointed by the weak text.

Meanwhile, Chen Xu, China's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said the US and its NATO allies should also be held accountable for alleged rights abuses in Afghanistan. The Chinese foreign ministry has repeatedly highlighted reported accounts of rights abuses by western troops.

There have been several concerning reports of Taliban abuses since the Islamist group took Kabul. Among other concerning footage, one video showed Taliban gunmen firing on protesters in Jalalabad. Another shows the militants arresting citizens while pointing a rocket-propelled grenade launcher in their direction.

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