UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Tuesday that she has received credible reports of human rights violations in several areas of Afghanistan under effective Taliban control, including summary executions, recruitment of child soldiers, and repression of women’s rights. Bachelet raised concerns for journalists, minorities, and civil society leaders now living under Taliban control.
Taliban leaders have “pledged to respect and protect human rights,” including “women’s right to work and girls’ right to attend school, within the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law.” Bachelet encouraged the Taliban to honor these commitments and emphasized the importance of maintaining an inclusive government. In response to fears of a worsening humanitarian situation, Bachelet said:
There should be no reprisals and no sanctions against the thousands of human rights defenders who have contributed to their people’s well-being and rights. The mandate, operations and independence of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission should be respected.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Deborah Lyons, stated that the humanitarian situation is dire for more than 18 million Afghans. Additionally, the UN Refugee Agency has estimated that the displaced population of Afghanistan exceeds 3.5 million people, 270,000 of which have been displaced since January 2021.