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Afghanistan: Human Rights Defenders Facing A 'climate Of Fear', Says UN Expert

An independent UN expert, Mary Lawlor warned on Wednesday that human rights defenders in Afghanistan are seeing a "climate of fear."

Afghanistan

Image: Twitter/@MaryLawlorhrds, Pixabay


An independent UN expert, Mary Lawlor warned on Wednesday that human rights defenders in Afghanistan are seeing a "climate of fear," threats, and growing despondency. Defenders asked for an immediate and concerted response from the international community, stating that the threat is extremely genuine.

She said that the defenders have informed her about the direct threats against women, as well as beatings, arrests, disappearances and the assassination of defenders. According to Lawler, they explain how they live in a fearful environment.

Documentarians of alleged war crimes, women, criminal lawyers, cultural rights defenders, particularly those working in forbidden fields in Afghanistan like music, and members of minority groups are among the most vulnerable. Lawlor has been informed that the defenders have deleted their online data history in order to avoid being identified and that the Taliban are looking for them in various ways.

The Taliban have stormed the offices of human rights

The Taliban, she claims, have stormed the offices of human rights and civil society organisations, looking for names, addresses, and contacts. She further said that many human rights defenders are well-known in their communities, particularly in rural regions, and have fled to the anonymity of cities. However, they are still obliged to move frequently.

According to her, most have also lost their source of income, narrowing their possibilities of finding safety. Lawlor demanded quick international assistance, as well as an immediate strategy for evacuating individuals in danger, as well as their families.

She also stated that they are the ones who have been working for human rights in the country for the past 20 years. Lawler remarked that many people report feeling abandoned. States that have supported their work for the previous two decades must do more to offer visas, travel permits, and sanctuary for the hundreds of human rights defenders who have been left behind and are in danger.

"There is no freedom of assembly and no freedom of expression"

One of the human rights defenders (WHRD) in Western Afghanistan said that there is no freedom of assembly and no freedom of expression. According to UN OHCHR, she further said that members of the family are afraid of being identified. According to her, human rights activists and others are being chased, detained, and killed.

(Inputs from ANI)

Image: Twitter/@MaryLawlorhrds, Pixabay

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