UN reports progress toward torture prevention in Afghanistan

UN reports progress toward torture prevention in Afghanistan

[JURIST] The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] announced [press release] Wednesday that Afghanistan has made “some progress” toward preventing the torture and ill-treatment of detainees held in government custody. The UN officials acknowledged the effort and commitment the Afghan government has shown towards eliminating the use of torture in detainment facilities, yet the report [text, PDF] shows that one-third of those detained are still being mistreated. UNAMA attributes the progress to new government policies and directives banning torture, increased inspection visits to detention facilities, and focused training on alternative interrogation techniques, however, they suggest that lack of accountability through criminal prosecution allows the continued use of torture to go unpunished.

This is the third report on torture and abuse in Afghan detainment facilities published by UNAMA and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website]. UNAMA released the first report on detainee torture in Afghanistan [JURIST report] in October 2011. In January of last year, a second report [JURIST report] detailed findings of continued torture and abuse of detainees. The Afghan government confirmed the report’s findings [JURIST report] of widespread torture and mistreatment of prisoners in facilities across Afghanistan. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged Afghanistan to make meaningful reforms to end the use of torture in government detention centers [JURIST report] based on the report.