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UN Concerns About Accounts of Taliban Ill-Treatment of Detainees

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(Last Updated On: May 26, 2019)

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement expresses grave concern about credible accounts of Taliban subjecting detainees to ill-treatment and actions that may amount to torture, as well as serious allegations that some detainees were killed.

According to the statement, reports also indicate that detainees were held in poor conditions and made to do forced labour.

UNAMA’s preliminary findings derive from face-to-face interviews with 13 detainees freed from a Taliban-run detention facility in Uruzgan on 25 April 2019 in an Afghan National Army Special Forces operation. They provided consistent accounts of the poor conditions in which they were held and credible claims of ill-treatment and torture, as well as the murder of civilians and security personnel, the statement added.

Multiple detainees reported the murder of at least 11 others by the Taliban, the statement noted.

“I am gravely concerned about these serious allegations of ill-treatment, torture and unlawful killing of civilians and security personnel, as well as the deplorable conditions of detention,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA.

The statement further said the group of 53 detainees freed from the Taliban-run facility known as Kalatak, located in the village of Shira in the Khas-Uruzgan district of Uruzgan, included 45 members of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and eight civilians, including three civilian government officials. Most of the detainees had been held since 2018, with three held since 2016.

All those released reported being shackled permanently. Some had scars on their ankles. All but one of the detainees interviewed by UNAMA reported being beaten. Some detainees reported that during the beatings the Taliban demanded they provide information or confess to specific acts. The remainder of the detainees said the beatings were punishment for what they were told was supporting the government, working with Americans or fighting the Taliban.

The statement said all detainees reported being held incommunicado and underground in five overcrowded rooms. Detainees said that for a minimum of seven hours a day they were forced to labour, including making improvised explosive devices, contrary to international humanitarian law.

Detainees said they were held in sub-zero temperatures during winter and were fed beans and bread twice a day, with no medical aid apart from some painkillers and antiseptics for wounds, the statement said.

UNAMA’s preliminary findings indicate that the conditions of detention and the treatment of the detainees contravenes minimum standards applicable to a party to a non-international conflict, read the statement.

“The United Nations reminds the Taliban that international humanitarian law applicable to international and non-international armed conflicts provides that all persons who do not take direct part in hostilities, or who have ceased to do so, must always be treated humanely,” said Richard Bennett, UNAMA’s Chief of Human Rights.

UNAMA is mandated by the UN Security Council to monitor places of detention, to promote accountability and to assist in the full implementation of the fundamental freedoms and human rights provisions of the Afghan Constitution and the international treaties to which Afghanistan is a party, the statement added.

Since 2011 UNAMA has monitored and reported on the treatment of conflict-related detainees. UNAMA publishes its findings and recommendations in reports jointly produced every two years with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The most recent report on the ‘Treatment of Conflict-Related Detainees in Afghanistan’ was released in April 2019. UNAMA will continue to assess the situation of detainees that have been held by Anti-Government Elements as opportunities arise.

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UN Security Council to meet over situation in Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday that will focus on the current situation in Afghanistan.

UNSC members are expected to discuss economic, humanitarian and security concerns.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) spokesman Bilal Karimi said the IEA welcomed meetings that are held with the aim of cooperating with the government and people of Afghanistan.

He also said that Afghans expect cooperation and that such meetings must be held in accordance with international laws and principles.

However, the IEA still does not have a designated UN representative – one year after taking control of the country.

Instead, Naseer Ahmad Faiq, who assumed leadership of the Afghan mission to the UN in December last year, will address the security council members.

The IEA does not however recognize him as the legitimate envoy to the UN.

In a series of tweets on Monday, Faiq said that he would address the security council meeting and speak on behalf of Afghans.

“On behalf of Afghans, in this important meeting, like always, I would like to raise the voice of my nation,” he said.

In September last year, the IEA asked the UN to accredit Suhail Shaheen, the head of the IEA’s political office in Qatar, as the new ambassador.

But in December, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution in which it indefinitely delayed a decision over the rival claims to the representative seat for Afghanistan.

At the time, the IEA criticized the UN’s failure to decide on this issue, saying it was ignoring the rights of the Afghan people.

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Influential Muslim cleric al-Qaradawi dies at 96

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

Senior Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who was based in Qatar, died on Monday, according to a post on his official Twitter account.

The cleric was an Egyptian Islamic scholar and was chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.

He was best known for his programme al-Sharīʿa wa al-Ḥayāh (“Sharia and Life”), broadcast on Al Jazeera, which has an estimated audience of 40–60 million worldwide.

He is also known for IslamOnline, a website he helped to found in 1997 and for which he served as chief religious scholar.

Al-Qaradawi published more than 120 books, and received eight international prizes for his contributions to Islamic scholarship, and is considered one of the most influential Islamic scholars today.

Al-Qaradawi has long had a prominent role within the intellectual leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian political organization, although he repeatedly stated that he was no longer a member. He has over the years been critical of Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

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Rare 5,000-carat Afghan ruby unveiled in Dubai

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2022)

A rare 5,000-carat gemstone that went on private display in Dubai has been heralded as a “blessing from heaven” for the residents of the impoverished village in which it was unearthed.

The ruby, which weighs about 1 kilogram, has been hailed as “one of a kind” due to its rich purple coloring and size, the National News reported.

The ruby was discovered in the village of Hyderabad, bordering Iran and Afghanistan and its owner said he hoped the unexpected find would help bring a change of fortune for villagers without access to schools, hospitals or even electricity for some.

The uncut stone could cost at least $10 million in the market, asset manager Patrick Pilati told The National.

“It was an accidental finding from the village called Hyderabad bordering Iran and Afghanistan. There is no mining activity in the village that is under the jurisdiction of Afghanistan,” he said.

The rough stone is deep purple in color and bigger than the palm of a hand.

A certificate of authenticity …by the International Testing Laboratory Gems and Jewellery, in Jaipur, Rajasthan in India, and shown to The National, stated the rough ruby weighs 5,010 carats.

Azad Rokhsati, a gemologist, who was also present at the event, confirmed the size and weight.

“I have never seen anything like this,” he said.

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