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Afghanistan government denies UN torture allegations

Afghanistan's Ministry of Interior Affairs [official website] and the National Directorate of Security (NDS) on Tuesday denied prisoner torture allegations made earlier this week in a UN report. A spokesperson for the Ministry said at a press conference that there was no basis for the report's findings [Khaama Press report] and that publicizing such information could hurt the people's trust in the police. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] on Monday eleased a report alleging that prisoners in some Afghan-run detention facilities have been beaten and tortured [JURIST report]. The prisoners interviewed for the study had been detained by the NDS or Afghan National Police (ANP) forces for national security crimes. Nearly half of the 273 detainees interviewed reported that they had undergone interrogation that amounted to torture. UNAMA also alleged that NDS and ANP officials committed due process violations and arbitrarily detained arrestees but did acknowledge that the abuse was not the result of official government policy.

Afghanistan has received much criticism for its human rights record. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported in September that the Afghan Local Police (ALP) force is committing serious abuses [JURIST report], and the Afghan government is doing little to hold the officials accountable. Corruption, abuse of power and a focus on short-term security goals in Afghanistan have intensified the issue of poverty [JURIST report] affecting more than two-thirds of the population, according to a March 2010 report [text, DOC] from the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website]. Earlier that same month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] delivered a report [JURIST report] to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] that said Afghanistan's human rights progress has been thwarted by armed conflict, censorship, abuse of power and violence against women.

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