The UN human rights chief, expressed grave concern on Tuesday about the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban took power. She says their treatment of women would mark a “fundamental red line.”
Speaking at the opening of an emergency session on Afghanistan, Michelle Bachelet urged the Taliban to honor commitments to respect the rights of women and girls and ethnic and religious minorities and refrain from retaliation.
“The responsibility now rests entirely with the Taliban to make these commitments a reality,” she said.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasized that the delivery of rights violations “would undermine the legitimacy of the perpetrators, both vis-à-vis the people and vis-à-vis regional and international institutions and other states.”
“A fundamental red line will be the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls,” he said, urging “respect for their rights to liberty, freedom of movement, education, self-expression, and employment.”
Militants have repeatedly promised a different kind of government to their brutal 1990s regime, which saw women confined to their homes, most entertainment prohibited, and public stoning and executions used as punishments.
But his rebrand is being treated with skepticism, and large crowds continue to crowd outside Kabul airport desperately seeking an evacuation, terrified of facing life under the Taliban.
Even before the Taliban took office, the UN says Afghanistan saw a sharp increase in civilian casualties in recent months.
Bachelet said her office had received credible reports of serious violations in places that have been under the control of the Taliban, including summary executions, restrictions on women’s rights, blocking of girls’ school attendance, and recruitment of women. Child soldiers.
Nasir Ahmad Andisha, the Afghan ambassador to the UN in Geneva appointed under the now collapsed government of former President Ashraf Ghani and who continues to represent his country, made it clear that he wanted to see decisive action.
He urged council members to send “a strong message to all parties, including the Taliban, that human rights abuses and violations … will have consequences.”
Human rights groups had asked the council to establish an international fact-finding mission to assess the situation and try to document violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, to ensure accountability.
But a draft resolution presented to the council on Monday only recommended that Bachelet report on the situation of rights in Afghanistan during the council’s main annual session in March, prompting condemnation.
According to various diplomatic sources, several countries that would otherwise have lobbied for the resolution to go further had cracked down out of fear that a more robust response could enrage the Taliban and jeopardize access for evacuations from the country.