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Afghanistan

    August 16, 2018

    Responding to the attack on a Shi’a education centre in Kabul on 15 August 2018, where a bomber stormed in and killed 34 people and injured at least 56 others, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, Samira Hamidi, said:

    “The deliberate targeting of civilians and the targeting of places of education is a war crime. The students killed were preparing for their university entrance exams when the bomber struck. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that this appears to have been an attack that was motivated by sectarian hatred, targeting members of the minority Shi’a religious community.

    “The mounting civilian casualties show beyond any doubt that Afghanistan and, in particular, its capital Kabul, are not safe. Violence across the country over the first six months of 2018 has been at record levels. And yet people fleeing the conflict, making desperate journeys to neighbouring countries and to Europe, are being turned away in the thousands. These returns are a violation of international law, breaching the principle of non-refoulement by forcing people into harm’s away.”

    Background

    May 02, 2018

     Journalists in Afghanistan face threats, intimidation and violence for simply doing their jobs, Amnesty International said on World Press Freedom Day as it honoured the memory of the 10 Afghan journalists killed in horrific attacks this week.

    Against the backdrop of unrelenting violence, a double bombing in Kabul and a shooting in Khost on Monday marked the deadliest day for journalists since the conflict in Afghanistan began in 2001. The Kabul bombings killed 29 people and wounded 45 others.

    “Afghanistan’s journalists are among the bravest in the world. Working in some of the most difficult conditions, they have faced threats, intimidation and violence for simply doing their jobs. At a time when many have sadly turned their attentions away from the country, and the work of a journalist means constantly putting your life at risk, they have continued to confront injustice and give voice to victims,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South Asia.

    March 07, 2018
    Taibeh Abbasi with her younger brother Ehsan.

    By Maria Serrano, Campaigner on Refugee and Migrants Rights

    Would you go to Afghanistan tomorrow? If you follow the news at all, the answer is probably no. Maybe you read about the truck bomb that killed at least 150 people last May, or the gunmen who stormed the offices of the charity Save the Children in January, killing four people. Perhaps you wondered how anyone could ever feel safe in Kabul after an ambulance packed with explosives blew up in a crowded street. Over 100 people died and at least 235 were injured.

    If you are in Europe, it’s likely that your government would also advise you against travelling to Afghanistan, citing the high threat of kidnapping, indiscriminate attacks and clashes between armed groups.

    February 28, 2018

    The Kabul Process conference must put the protection of Afghan civilians and accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the heart of its discussions this week, Amnesty International said.

    Leaders and representatives of 23 governments, the United Nations, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are meeting in the Afghan capital for three days of talks centred on the themes of security and counter-terrorism.

    “The greatest security issue in Afghanistan is the safety of Afghan civilians. In recent weeks, we have seen the horrors of previous years unfold on the streets of Kabul, with civilians ruthlessly targeted in attacks that amount to war crimes,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director.

    “We keep hearing of the Afghan government and the international community’s concern for the civilian lives, but there has been a failure to put the protection of those lives at the heart of their policies.”

    Civilian casualties

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 02, 2018

    Taibeh Abbasi is a teenage girl that was born in Iran to Afghan parents and fled to Norway with her mother and brothers in 2012. The Norwegian government will be putting her and her family at grave risk of serious human rights violations if it goes ahead with plans to return them to Afghanistan, a country that she has never even visited.

    Taibeh goes to school and dreams of becoming a doctor. If she is forced to return to Afghanistan her aspirations will be completely destroyed. The Norwegian government has justified the family’s deportation by claiming that Afghanistan is safe for returns – but it is not.

    However Taibeh is not alone, her classmates at school in Trondheim, led a campaign to stop their return. There was massive support from over 1,000 high school students that protested against the government’s threat to deport one of their classmates. Now Amnesty youth activists in Canada and from around the world are speaking out for Taibeh and her family. 

    January 24, 2018

    In response to today’s attack on Save the Children’s offices in Jalalabad, which has left several people dead and a number of others injured, Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director said:

    “We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Save the Children following this dreadful news, which comes after a wave of violence against civilians including the deadly assault at the Intercontinental Hotel.

    “It is an organisation that has worked tirelessly in Afghanistan for more than four decades, delivering outstanding work during some of the country’s most turbulent periods.

    “Bombing and shooting people who are working for no other reason than to help improve the lives of young Afghans is a cowardly and despicable act. Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime.”

    December 28, 2017

    Reacting to the deadly attack on Afghan Voice, a news agency, that has killed at least 40 people and wounded 30 others, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said:

    “This gruesome attack underscores the dangers faced by Afghan civilians. In one of the deadliest years on record, journalists and other civilians continue to be ruthlessly targeted by armed groups. With the Afghan capital hit once again, no one can credibly claim that Kabul safe. The European governments who insist on this dangerous fiction by forcibly returning Afghans are putting their lives in danger.”

     

    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.”

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