Title Afghanistan: Grave abuses in the name of religion
Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 18 November 1996
Country Afghanistan
Topics Arbitrary arrest and detention | Armed groups / Militias / Paramilitary forces / Resistance movements | Death in custody | Death penalty | Extrajudicial executions | Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment | Gender discrimination | Gender-based persecution | Persecution based on political opinion | Political situation | Protection of civilian persons in time of war | Women's rights
Citation / Document Symbol ASA 11/012/1996
Reference Amnesty International is a worldwide voluntary movement that works to prevent some of the gravest violations by governments of people's fundamental human rights. The main focus of its campaigning is to: free all prisoners of conscience people detained an
Cite as Amnesty International, Afghanistan: Grave abuses in the name of religion, 18 November 1996, ASA 11/012/1996, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a98dc.html [accessed 17 December 2017]
Comments Amnesty International has for years consistently expressed its concern about the human rights abuses perpetrated by all sides in the conflict in Afghanistan. These have included the killing of tens of thousands of civilians in deliberate or indiscriminate attackson residential areas, deliberate and arbitrary killing of thousands of men, women and children by armed guards during raids on their homes, unacknowledged detention of several thousand people after being abducted by the various armed political groups, torture of civilians including rape of women, routine beating and ill-treatment of civilians suspected of belonging to rival political groups or because of their ethnic identity. This report focuses specifically on human rights abuses by the Taleban, a relatively new force in this tragic conflict, which now controls about two thirds of Afghanistan's territory and the seat and mechanisms of government in the capital, Kabul. It in no way seeks to condone the serious abuses by other groups, on which Amnesty International has commented widely in the past, or to make comparative judgements. Nor does it confer recognition on one party or another. The abuses being inflicted by the Taleban represent yet another layer of suffering in the continuum of abuses to which Afghan civilian populations have been subjected over the past 17 years of armed conflict. Since the emergence of the Taleban as a military and political force in late 1994, Amnesty International has received continued reports of abuses perpetrated by the Taleban militia in areas they control. In Taleban controlled areas, thousands of women have been physically restricted to their homes under Taleban edicts, which ban women from going to work or leaving home unaccompanied by a close male relative and girls from going to school, fearing physical assault by the Taleban guards if they leave home without a reason acceptable to them. Scores of women have been beaten in the streets for not wearing a burqa, or exposing their ankles. In some areas, children have been brutally slapped for playing with their toys in the street. Hundreds of men, possibly over one thousand, have been taken prisoner and continue to be held in arbitrary and unacknowledged detention, while dozens of men have been beaten in the streets to make them attend Friday prayers in the mosque. Torture and ill-treatment of the detainees has occurred frequently with some prisoners being held in metal containers for months. A number of prisoners have died while digging trenches in mined areas, or as a result of torture. Scores of people have been killed deliberately and arbitrarily on suspicion of anti-Taleban activity. At least one man has been shot dead in Kabul for not attending prayers at the mosque, and one woman has received Kalashnikov bullet injuries in the city of Farah for appearing in public unattended by a male relative. Dozens of people have been subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments such as amputation and stoning ordered by the Taleban courts. Over a dozen people are believed to have been executed. In holding the Taleban and other warring non-governmental entities accountable for human rights abuses during the conflict, Amnesty International has stressed their obligation to abide by minimum humanitarian standards set down in the laws of armed conflict. However, as the Taleban consolidate their hold on the governmental machinery in Afghanistan, implementing their social and political programs and seeking recognition as a government from the international community, they must be reminded of the additional responsibilities and obligations that come with this in the field of human rights. Amnesty International is urging the Taleban and all other warring factions to respect human rights. The organization is also urging the governments of the world to make concerted efforts for the protection of civilians against human rights abuses, particularly vulnerable groups such as women and children. Regional powers especially have a responsibility to ensure that no military equipment or training which would be used to commit human rights abuses is supplied to the warring factions.
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