Afghanistan: Grave violations to civic freedoms and ongoing impunity show need for robust international mechanism

Statement at the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council 

Interactive Dialogue on the Special Rapporteur’s report on Afghanistan

Delivered by Horia Mosadiq

CIVICUS and the Safety and Risk Mitigation Organization thank the Special Rapporteur for his first report. The gravity of the situation cannot be overstated.

Since the Taliban takeover, escalating restrictions on fundamental freedoms in the country have exacerbated the danger facing human rights defenders. They live in a climate of fear, facing harassment, threats and violence. Those who have criticised the regime have been arbitrarily arrested and detained. Women human rights defenders have been abducted by the Taliban with impunity.

Crackdowns against protesters continue without accountability. Thousands of people, especially women, who took to the streets across the country to protest against the Taliban were subjected to excessive force, gunfire and beatings by the Taliban authorities, leading to deaths and injuries of peaceful protesters.

There have been countless raids of civil society offices, often to intimidate, and some groups have had their bank accounts frozen. The dissolution of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission this year symbolises the complete disintegration of accountability mechanisms in the country.

While grave violations continue and impunity remains rampant, we call on States to urgently take steps to create a more robust international accountability mechanism to complement the work of the Special Rapporteur.

We further call on States to provide Afghan human rights defenders with financial, diplomatic and political support, including by issuing humanitarian visas and funding resettlement programmes, and to apply pressure on the Taliban to create a safer space for human rights defenders in Afghanistan.

We thank you.

Civic space in Afghanistan is rated "Repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor.