Afghanistan marks one year of Taliban rule

Last year on 15 August 2021, Taliban authorities took control of Afghanistan. After capturing Kabul, rebel forces have suppressed the media, and arbitrarily detained, tortured, and summarily executed critics and perceived opponents, among other abuses.

During the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council, on 12 September the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, presented his first report. Notably, the report concluded that attacks against ethnic and religious minorities in Afghanistan bear “the hallmarks of crimes against humanity” as they “appear to be systematic in nature and reflect elements of an organizational policy.” Many of these attacks were perpetrated by the so-called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K) and directly targeted ethnic and religious minorities, including Hazara Shias, other Shia Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Sikhs and others.

According to a recent report from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s Human Rights Service, 700 civilians were killed and 1,406 wounded from 15 August 2021 to 15 June 2022. Members of ethnic and religious minorities have also been arbitrarily arrested, tortured, summarily executed and in some cases forced to flee the country. Special Rapporteur Bennett underscored that, “the human rights situation was concerning for decades prior to the Taliban seizing control of the country in August 2021; since then, it has significantly deteriorated.”

Due to the humanitarian crisis, migration potential from Afghanistan remains high. In October 2021, Lithuania granted asylum for Afghanistan citizens, who worked with the International Security Assistance Force and their family members. There were 327 Afghans living in Lithuania at the beginning of 2022, according to data from the Lithuanian Department of Statistics.




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