UN votes to appoint human rights watchdog in Afghanistan

GENEVA – Driven by mounting evidence of Taliban abuses since the group seized power two months ago, the UN’s top human rights body on Thursday appointed an independent expert backed by expert advisers to investigate and report abuses in Afghanistan. Voted to.

The Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted an EU-led resolution, supported by 50 mainly European and Latin American countries, that, by March next year, would establish a special synergy and a team of technical experts to monitor human rights there.

China denounced the initiative to ignore abuses by US forces and their allies over the past 20 years. Russia also hit out at the US “hasty and irresponsible withdrawal” without ensuring a smooth transition of power, challenging the “partisan, unbalanced and destructive” resolution.

But the 47-member council voted 28 to 5 in favor of the resolution, with 14 members abstaining, after rejecting a series of hostile amendments proposed by China.

Taliban officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nasser Andisha, who had been appointed by the former government but still represented the country in Geneva, strongly condemned the new Taliban government, which includes only a few non-Pashtuns and no The woman is not, and whom he accused of “human rights abuses trial” including summary murders and ethnic cleansing committed over the past two months.

“Further violations are all but certain,” he said.

Human rights groups say they hope the council’s action could curb the harsh excesses of Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers, who are currently seeking international recognition and support for their handling of the humanitarian crisis and crumbling economy.

“It sends a message to the Taliban that the world is watching, and their violations and abuses are being documented,” said John Fischer, director of Human Rights Watch in Geneva.

The UN Human Rights Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, called for a fact-finding mission at a special session of the Human Rights Council on Afghanistan in August, citing evidence of widespread abuse. But Pakistan and members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, who called that meeting, rejected moves by the Taliban government to investigate the action that was still taking shape.

Two months later, calls for an oversight gained momentum after the hardline-dominated Taliban government swiftly rejected earlier promises of amnesty for former members of the security services; Excessive restrictions on movement and education for women and girls; and intimidated independent media through detaining journalists and physical abuse.

Targeted killings are “frequent,” and a daily occurrence in some regions, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission chief Shahrazad Akbar said over the phone from a location outside the country ahead of the council’s vote. “Most of the victims are former army or police officers and their families, but there are also reports of former prosecutors being killed,” she said.

The unlawful killings of 13 members of Afghanistan’s Hazara minority, including a 17-year-old girl, reported by Amnesty International this week have raised fears for ethnic and religious minorities that the Taliban may be evicting thousands from their homes. Huh. The Taliban has challenged these reports in the media, calling them false.

Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, criticized the EU for limiting its initiatives to appoint a special rapporteur instead of leveraging broader international support for more robust measures.

“Given the gravity of the human rights crisis in Afghanistan, today’s resolution falls short of the strong response we expected from the Human Rights Council,” Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard said in a statement. “An independent, international investigative mechanism, with powers to collect documents and evidence for future trials, is critical to ensuring justice, truth and reparation for crimes committed under international law and human rights violations.”

The United Nations has 55 unpaid independent experts working as Special Rapporteurs to monitor developments in distressed countries and human rights issues, but a lack of resources hinders many of them.

Nevertheless, the EU resolution provides for the UN to recruit additional experts with expertise in forensics, legal analysis and issues such as torture and the rights of women and minorities.

The vote was also in contrast to an independent international investigation into the seven-year conflict in Yemen. A group of experts have documented war crimes there over the past two years, but a proposal by Saudi Arabia to extend their mandate for another two years failed after a fierce lobbying campaign.

Radhya Almutawakel, who leads the Mwatana for Human Rights, an independent Yemeni organisation, said in a statement: “Words cannot describe our dismay today among UN member states.”

By voting against the renewal of the experts’ mandate, “they have voted for the Yemeni people to leave,” she said.

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