UNAMA finds torture still prolific across all Afghan detention facilities
Allegations by detainees of torture in Afghan detention facilities continue at high rates with the procedural rights of those detained largely ignored, UNAMA stated in its latest bi-annual ‘Torture Report’ released on Wednesday.
UNAMA stated that torture and ill-treatment, prohibited under both Afghan and international law, persist in the facilities of government agencies in Afghanistan.
In a statement issued by the mission, they said they had however recorded a three per cent reduction in allegations compared to the previous monitoring period.
“Torture can never be justified. It has lasting consequences for victims, their families and society,” said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
“I recognize the efforts made by some Government Ministries and Institutions, but much more needs to be done to bring this practice to an end. In particular, perpetrators must be held accountable. This would increase confidence in the rule of law and can be a contributing factor towards peace,” said the envoy, who is also head of UNAMA.
The report summarizes the findings of monitoring by the UN of the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty for security- or terrorism-related allegations between 1 January 2019 and 31 March 2020, when physical detention visits by the UN were suspended due to COVID-19.
It is based on interviews with 656 detainees, including 565 men, six women, 82 boys and three girls, in 63 detention facilities in 24 provinces across Afghanistan.
The report looks only at government facilities and not those of the Taliban or other anti-government elements, due to lack of access, the statement read.
The percentage of credible allegations of incidents of torture and ill-treatment committed by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) was recorded at 30.3 per cent, down from 31.9 percent for 2017-2018.
Allegations of torture in Afghan National Police (ANP) custody was 27.2 per cent, a decrease from the previously recorded 31.2 per cent.
A reduction in allegations of torture in National Directorate of Security (NDS) custody from 19.4 to 16 per cent was noted.
According to the statement, the report highlights the important role played by internal mechanisms in preventing torture, especially NDS human rights officers visiting places of detention.
UNAMA stated it remains a matter of serious concern that more than 30 per cent of all interviewees provided credible and reliable reports of torture and ill-treatment.
Some sharp regional differences are noted in the number of allegations made by detainees. There was a particularly high number of allegations of torture and ill-treatment concerning the ANP in Kandahar, with 57.7 per cent of complaints. The report also noted the disturbing reports of enforced disappearances allegedly linked to the ANP in Kandahar.
The report also found that in almost no instance of detention either by the ANP or NDS, were detainees informed of their rights, able to access a lawyer, or went through medical examination, prior to questioning by officials.
Detainees’ ability to contact their families in early days after their arrests remained low.
UNAMA also stated that it was concerned that nearly half of all persons detained by the ANP and NDS claim that they were asked to sign or thumbprint a document without knowing its content.
UNAMA meanwhile recommended the creation of an independent national preventive mechanism on torture described in the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
“Such a dedicated mechanism would have the authority and enhanced capacity and expertise to inspect all detention facilities, conduct follow up investigations and make detailed technical recommendations on prosecution of perpetrators and remedial measures,” read the statement.
Haqqani in Jawzjan: We are building trust, inclusivity will come automatically
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is building public trust and inclusivity will come automatically, Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani said during his visit to northern Jawzjan province.
Addressing a gathering, Haqqani said that the “enemies” sought to divide Afghanistan under different names in the past, but now IEA will not allow this to happen.
“The enemies wanted Afghanistan to fall in a conflict, where the North, South, West and East would be divided into different islands, but Alhamdulillah, this is a Muslim nation and a patriotic nation. Alhamdulillah, all the evil circles fled the country. The then rulers had created a misunderstanding and we are removing this misunderstanding. Henceforth, the enemies’ plots will be neutralized and love and trust will increase,” Haqqani said.
Haqqani also emphasized that the Islamic Emirate is committed to the implementation of the general amnesty decree, and no one will be allowed to arbitrarily violate this decree.
“The most important thing is to build trust and bridge the gap. After building trust, inclusivity will come automatically, because the government is a trust, it is not someone’s property. Sometimes it is mine and sometimes it is one of the other brothers. The more proper the keeping, the more will be survival,” Haqqani said.
Meanwhile, Jawzjan Governor Gul Haider Shafaq said that people want an Islamic system in the country, not government posts.
On the other hand, a number of residents of Jawzjan province reiterated their support for the IEA and asked the government to address the people’s problems.
Reports of significant drop in poppy production in Afghanistan ‘credible’: US special envoy
Reports that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) have implemented policies to significantly decrease opium poppy production this year are credible and important, US special envoy Thomas West said.
“Every country in the region and beyond has a shared interest in an Afghanistan free of drugs,” West said in a tweet.
The BBC reported on Tuesday that an investigation by the media outlet has found a marked decrease in poppy cultivation across Afghanistan this year.
The BBC reported that it traveled in Afghanistan – and used satellite analysis – to examine the effects of a decree issued in April 2022 by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada that the cultivation of poppies, from which opium, the key ingredient for the drug heroin can be extracted, was strictly prohibited.
One expert quoted in the report said that poppy cultivation has declined 80 percent this year. Helmand, in particular, has seen 99 percent drop.
Mining of lead and zinc starts in Kandahar’s Shah Wali Kot district
The Directorate of Mines and Petroleum in Kandahar says a private company, that has a five year contract, has officially started extracting “lead and zinc” from mines in Shah Wali Kot district.
Kandahar Mining and Petroleum Department Director Mawlavi Abdul Hanan said the company will build a 72 km long road from Shahr Safai district of Zabul province to Qalat city, in exchange for the mining contract.
The company officials have also assured the Islamic Emirate that they will extract the minerals in accordance with their contract.
“We do the mining in the right way and we build roads in exchange for mines,” said Rahimullah, the head of the contracting company.
Over the past few years, most mines in the country have been worked on an ad-hoc basis or illegally. Since retaking control of the country, the Islamic Emirate has systematically worked to regulate the sector and attract investors.
The Islamic Emirate has said that it intends to use the proceeds from mines to develop the country.
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