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Afghanistan

    November 07, 2017

    Responding to the attack on the Pashto-language Shamshad TV station – a partner of the BBC – in Kabul by armed gunmen, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, Omar Waraich, said:

    “The attack on Shamshad TV is a horrific crime that tragically demonstrates the risks Afghanistan’s journalists face for their legitimate work. The Afghan authorities must do what they can to protect the country’s media, allowing them to work freely and without fear. The perpetrators must be brought to justice through fair trials without recourse to the death penalty. Impunity for attacks on journalists must end.

    “This latest attack also underscores the grim fact that Kabul continues to be one of the most hazardous places in the country. European countries, which continue to forcibly return people to Afghanistan, must confront this reality and dispense with the dangerous fiction that Afghanistan and its capital are safe. By sending asylum-seekers back to Afghanistan, they are putting them in harm’s way.”

     

    October 05, 2017
    Returns from Europe increase as Afghanistan becomes more dangerous European governments are wrong to claim parts of Afghanistan are safe 2016 was deadliest year on record for civilians and 2017 is going the same way

    European governments have put thousands of Afghans in harm’s way by forcibly returning them to a country where they are at serious risk of torture, kidnapping, death and other human rights abuses, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

    At a time when civilian casualties in Afghanistan are at their highest levels on record, the new report says, European governments are forcing increasing numbers of asylum-seekers back to the dangers from which they fled, in brazen violation of international law.

    July 24, 2017
      Responding to the deaths of 24 people and the wounding of 42 when a car packed with explosives rammed into a bus in western Kabul this morning, in an attack claimed by the Taliban, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher, Horia Mosadiq, said:   “This horrific attack deliberately targeted civilians and constitutes a war crime under international law. It was just yesterday that the people of Kabul were marking the one year anniversary of one of the deadliest attacks in the city’s history. Today, they are forced to mourn further deaths.   “Nearly 16 years after the conflict in Afghanistan began, civilians are increasingly paying the greatest price. A record number of civilians have been killed in the first half of this year, with women and children being the worst affected. And neither the Afghan government nor the international community is paying enough attention to their plight.  
    May 31, 2017

    Responding to today’s bombing in Kabul that has claimed the lives of 80 people and injured at least 350, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher Horia Mosadiq said:

    “The bombing in Kabul is a horrific act of violence and a heartbreaking reminder of the toll that Afghan civilians continue to pay in a conflict where armed groups deliberately target them and the government fails to protect them.

    “There must be an immediate, impartial and effective investigation that delivers justice to the victims. Civilians must never be targeted under any circumstances.

    “Today’s tragedy shows that the conflict in Afghanistan is not winding down but dangerously widening, in a way that should alarm the international community.

    “The International Criminal Court must make good on its promise to investigate war crimes in the country and hold the perpetrators accountable.”

    April 27, 2017

    Attacks on civilians in the first three months of this year and the inability of the Afghan government to ensure their adequate protection show that Afghanistan remains an unsafe country for refugees to be returned to, Amnesty International said today.

    “At a time when civilian casualties remain high, with women and children suffering the worst of the violence, it is reckless of governments to claim that Afghanistan is safe for refugees to return,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    Since the withdrawal of the international military forces from Afghanistan at the end of 2014 the security situation in the country has seriously deteriorated with increased civilian casualties and a growing internal displacement crisis in the country. The Taliban now control more territory than at any point since 2001.

    The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recently released a report on civilian casualties containing data documenting 715 deaths and 1,466 injuries during the first quarter of 2017.

    Kabul, the Afghan capital, suffered the highest levels of civilian casualties, followed by Helmand, Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces.

    February 08, 2017

    The killing of six employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in northern Afghanistan is a horrific crime, Amnesty International said today.

    “By targeting the ICRC, who devote their lives to helping people in desperate need, the perpetrators have demonstrated a horrific contempt for human life,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    The killings in the northern Jowzjan province come a day after a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people at the entrance of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court in Kabul.

    Afghanistan is currently reeling from a series of attacks on civilians, including the murder of four women in Herat and Badakhshan provinces over the past week.

    In Herat, the killers left behind a note saying, “This is the punishment for prostitutes.”

    No one has yet claimed responsibility for today’s attack, the bombing of the Supreme Court, or the killings of the ICRC staff.

    November 07, 2016

    In response to today’s announcement by the United Nations that it will investigate last week’s US-led airstrikes in Kunduz province, in which more than 30 civilians were killed, Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director said:

    “The horrific events in Kunduz last week are the latest in a growing list of incidents which have resulted in Afghan civilians being killed or injured in attacks that appear to have violated international humanitarian law

    “We hope that this UN investigation into the circumstances surrounding the bombing represents a step towards truth and justice for the victims and their families.

    “If the investigation ultimately does show that the attack violated international humanitarian law, it is critical that US/NATO forces are held accountable. If there is evidence of war crimes, those responsible must be prosecuted in fair trials.”

    Background:

    October 26, 2016

    Responding to the news that nearly 30 civilians, including children, in the Firoz Koh district of Afghanistan’s Ghor province, were abducted and killed by an armed group suspected of links to the so-called Islamic State, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director Champa Patel said:

    “The abduction and killing of nearly 30 civilians, including children, is a horrendous crime. There can be no justification whatsoever for targeting and killing civilians under any circumstances.

    “The victims and their families deserve justice. The Afghan authorities must carry out an independent, impartial, and effective investigation into these killings. And the perpetrators must be brought to justice in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty.”

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    For more media inquiries, contact Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations

    613-744-7667 ext 236 // jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    October 06, 2016

    The Afghan government and Taliban forces should urgently facilitate swift and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief into Kunduz, where thousands of civilians are trapped in increasingly dire conditions, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization has interviewed medical workers and civilians stuck in Kunduz amid fighting after the Taliban launched an assault on 3 October. Kunduz residents have described grim scenes as food and water supplies have been exhausted and electricity was cut. The city’s civilian hospital has run out of medical supplies and sustained rocket and gunfire attacks on 5 October.

    “Civilians in Kunduz are once again at a precipice, and time is running out. Unless all parties to the conflict permit a humanitarian corridor to allow vital aid in and people to flee, we could soon be looking at a devastating humanitarian crisis,” said Champa Patel, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    “International humanitarian law clearly prohibits launching attacks against, or from, civilian areas – those suspected of criminal responsibility must be brought to justice in fair trials.”

    October 03, 2016

    Responding to the news that Taliban fighters have launched a coordinated attack on the city of Kunduz in Afghanistan, Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, said:

    “Civilians in Kunduz have woken up this morning to find themselves once again caught up in a storm of appalling violence. It is extremely worrying that Taliban fighters are exposing residents to attacks and sweeping them into a raging war, which has already cost them so much. Needlessly endangering civilians by launching attacks from their midst is prohibited under international law, and demonstrates the Taliban’s utter disregard for civilian safety and right to life.

    “All parties to the conflict must take all feasible precautions to protect civilians, including media and humanitarian workers, and ensure they are protected amid this renewed violence in Kunduz. Civilians must never be used as human shields.”

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    For further information, please contact Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations 613-744-7667 ext 236
    Email: jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    September 06, 2016

    “The attack by an armed group on the aid agency CARE International in Kabul is the deliberate targeting of civilians and constitutes a war crime. The cardinal rule of international humanitarian law is that parties to an armed conflict must never deliberately attack civilians,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “This is sadly the latest in a series of horrific attacks in the Afghan capital, leading to unlawful killing of civilians. Victims and survivors, including the families of those who have lost their lives and those who have been injured, have a right to justice and reparation. The government has a duty to protect civilians and prevent further such attacks. There must be an independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigation. The perpetrators must be brought to justice in fair trials – without recourse to the death penalty.”

     

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    June 15, 2016

    The allegations that have come forward through an anonymous letter from members of the Canadian Military Police and reported today in La Presse, regarding the Canadian military’s detention policy and practices  in Afghanistan are gravely concerning. For years, Amnesty International called for a halt to the handover of detainees to Afghan authorities because of concerns about torture. The organization has repeatedly called for transparent investigations into the potential complicity of Canadian forces in serious human rights violations committed by Afghan forces following the transfers. Today’s revelations, if true, underscore the urgent need for a Commission of Inquiry in order to ascertain the full facts of what occurred and identify the reforms needed to ensure these circumstances do not arise again. 

    June 08, 2016

    Signed by many human rights experts, parliamentarians and other eminent Canadians, an Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was just released by the Rideau Institute, further to their earlier report, entitled: Torture of Afghan Detainees: Canada’s Alleged Complicity and the Need for a Public Inquiry, (Omar Sabry, September, 2015, Rideau Institute and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives publishers).                  

    This Open Letter comes just days before the Government of Canada must formally respond in writing to e-70 (Afghanistan), an electronic petition to Parliament calling on the Government of Canada “to establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the facts with respect to policies, practices, legal and other opinions, decisions, and conduct of Canadian government actors, including Ministers and senior officials, concerning Afghan detainees throughout Canada's involvements in Afghanistan from 2001”.

    May 31, 2016

    The number of Afghans who have fled violence and remained trapped in their own country – where they live on the brink of survival - has dramatically doubled over the past three years, a new report by Amnesty International highlights.

    A staggering 1.2 million people are internally displaced in Afghanistan today, a dramatic increase from some 500,000 in 2013. Afghans already form one of the world’s largest refugee populations, with an estimated 2.6 million Afghan citizens living beyond the country’s border.

    Amnesty International’s new report, ‘My Children Will Die This Winter’: Afghanistan’s Broken Promise to the Displaced, casts fresh light on the country’s forgotten victims of war who have fled their homes but remain displaced within the country’s borders.

    “While the world’s attention seems to have moved on from Afghanistan, we risk forgetting the plight of those left behind by the conflict,” said Champa Patel, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    May 09, 2016

    The death penalty will deliver neither the justice that victims deserve nor the security that Afghanistan seeks, Amnesty International said today.

    Six men were executed on 8 May 2016 after they were convicted for their  involvement in a series of high-profile violent attacks - including the 2011 killing of former President and head of the High Peace Council, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and an attack on a Kabul supermarket in the same year.

    The executions mark the first time the government of President Ashraf Ghani has resorted to this cruel, unjust and irreversible punishment this year. Since a bombing last month in Kabul that killed more than 64 people, the Afghanistan government has vowed to implement the death penalty more frequently.

    The families who lost loved ones in violent attacks deserve justice for these appalling crimes,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director. “But the death penalty merely serves as vengeance, perpetuates the cycle of violence, and fails to address any root causes.”

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