Geneva Council Stands with UN in Urging Taliban to Halt Torture and Safeguard Detainees’ Rights


Geneva Council strongly supports the United Nations’ recent call to action, urging the Taliban government to put an immediate end to torture and ensure the protection of detainees’ fundamental rights in Afghanistan.

In a comprehensive report released on Wednesday, the United Nations revealed that it has meticulously documented more than 1,600 instances of grave human rights violations committed by Afghan authorities during the process of arrests and detentions. These harrowing violations encompassed acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. The report, compiled by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), encompassed a comprehensive 19-month period from January 2022 to the end of July 2023, covering incidents across 29 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, with approximately 11% of these cases involving women.

The torture methods employed by authorities, as reported by the UN, are deeply alarming and include beatings, suffocation, suspension from the ceiling, and electric shocks. It is crucial to note that cases lacking sufficient credibility and reliability were intentionally excluded from the report to ensure the utmost accuracy.

Despite the Taliban government’s promises of a more moderate rule compared to their previous stint in power during the 1990s, they have imposed harsh measures since taking control of Afghanistan in mid-August 2021. This alarming trend unfolded as US and NATO forces concluded their two-decade-long presence in the nation.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk expressed his profound concern, stating, “The personal accounts of beatings, electric shocks, water torture, and numerous other forms of cruel and degrading treatment, along with threats made against individuals and their families, are harrowing.” He underscored that torture is being employed as a substitute for effective investigations and urged all relevant authorities to take concrete measures to halt these abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable.

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, used the term “de facto authorities” when referencing the Taliban government. While the report acknowledges some efforts by government agencies to oversee detention facilities and investigate allegations of abuse, it emphasizes the need for urgent, accelerated action from all parties involved.

Out of the reported instances of torture and degrading treatment, 259 cases involved physical suffering, while 207 involved mental suffering. UNAMA believes that these incidents represent only a fraction of the mistreatment in custody throughout Afghanistan due to a climate of pervasive surveillance, harassment, intimidation, and threats aimed at silencing detainees.

The report’s findings reveal a diverse range of individuals affected, with 44% of interviewees being civilians with no particular affiliations, 21% being former government or security personnel, 16% belonging to civic organizations or human rights groups, 9% being members of armed groups, and 8% comprising journalists and media workers. The remaining individuals were “family members of persons of interest.”

In response, the Taliban-led Foreign Ministry, whose statement was included in the report, asserted that government agencies have taken steps to enhance the human rights situation of detainees, emphasizing that Islamic law, or Shariah, explicitly prohibits torture. The Ministry of Interior also questioned some of the data presented in the report, asserting that it had identified only 21 cases of human rights violations.

Geneva Council stands united with the United Nations in its unwavering commitment to promoting human rights, justice, and peace worldwide. We echo the urgent call for the Taliban government to cease all forms of torture, protect the rights of detainees, and uphold international human rights standards. It is our sincere hope that this joint effort will lead to a safer and more just future for the people of Afghanistan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top