Saturday, 12 August 2023
Human Rights Situation in Afghanistan: Mid-year Report 1 January to 30 June 2023

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This report has been prepared to examine and analyse the human rights situation in Afghanistan, with a focus on significant events related to the violation of civil and political rights and the status of women’s human rights in the first six months of 2023. Based on the findings of this report, terrorist attacks and armed conflicts have decreased compared to previous years, resulting in fewer civilian casualties. However, other forms of human rights violations, especially targeted, and extrajudicial killings continue to be widespread and carried out by the Taliban as well as by unknown individuals.

Furthermore, increasing restrictions have been imposed on various aspects of citizens’ lives including political, social, economic, and cultural lives, particularly affecting women. During this period, the Taliban, have continued to suppress peaceful protests and gatherings with violence, and have conducted arbitrary and unlawful arrests of former government employees, protesters, human rights activists, journalists, and Taliban’s perceived political opponents. The widespread imposition of restrictions by the Taliban and the enforcement through force and violence has intensified an environment of repression and suffocation across the country. The Taliban have further shrunk existing space for any form of individual and collective civil efforts and criticism compared to the same period in 2022.

In addition, torture and mistreatment of prisoners and the implementation of cruel and inhumane punishments are among other serious instances of human rights violations by the Taliban during the first six months of 2023, thar have been documented by Rawadari and reflected in this report.

The gravity of these findings, as well as the consequent recommendations, demands serious attention from the international community, the United Nations, human rights organizations, de facto authorities and relevant stakeholders. The dire human rights situation in Afghanistan, particularly the continued systemic and widespread violations of the rights of women and girls require urgent attention and coordinated international, regional and local action and response.

Data collection methodology

From 1st January to 30th June 2023, Rawadari conducted phone and face to face interviews with 353 individuals, including 52 women in 30 provinces across Afghanistan and documented human rights violations. Those interviewed included human rights activists, victims and their families, eyewitnesses, defence lawyers, former and current judicial and legal officials, released prisoners, local journalists, local representatives or wakeel-e- guzar, healthcare personnel, and educators. The new and increasing limitations on women’s work in NGOs and the UN as well as limitations on women’s movement has also had implications for Rawadari’s access to women activists, professionals and other potential women interviewees. Through these interviews, data and information related to human rights violations has been documented and analysed within the framework of international human rights standards.

Furthermore, findings from previous Rawadari reports and other related reports published by human rights organizations and entities have also been utilized in the drafting of this report. In addition, documents, decrees, and official letters issued by the Taliban during the first six months of 2023, and available to Rawadari’s documentation team are among other sources of information included in this report.

Collecting information and documenting human rights violations in Afghanistan has been problematic and challenging due to extensive restrictions on access to information imposed by the Taliban. The findings of Rawadari indicate that the Taliban have imposed even stricter limitations on accessing information during the first six months of 2023. Due to these limitations, the report only includes information on human rights violations that the Rawadari team has been able to document considering these limitations.

It is worth mentioning that some details regarding the identity of the interviewees, as well as specific dates and locations of certain human rights violations have been deliberately withheld in the report to protect the security of the sources and victims.

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