Conflicts & War

Rights ‘ignored,’ torture allegations high in Afghan detention centers: UN

Kabul, Feb 3 (efe-epa).- “Torture and ill-treatment” persist in Afghan prisons with nearly a third of the terror accused detainees subjected to abuse, said a United Nations report published Wednesday.

The findings by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said a large number of detainees accused authorities of ignoring their procedural rights.

“Torture and ill-treatment, prohibited under both Afghan and international law, persist in the facilities of government agencies in Afghanistan,” the UN agency said in its latest bi-annual ‘Torture Report’ compiled in coordination with the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Office.

The report throws lights on the treatment of persons deprived by the authorities of their liberty for security or terrorism-related allegations.

The UN agency collected the findings between Jan.1, 2019, and Mar.31, 2020.

The report is the compilation of interviews with 565 men, six women, 82 boys, and three girls in 63 detention facilities in 24 provinces across Afghanistan.

“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 percent, down from 31.9 percent for 2017-2018,” it said.

“Torture can never be justified. It has lasting consequences for victims, their families and society,” said Deborah Lyons, the UN special representative in Afghanistan.

Lyons recognized the efforts of the government to prevent torture in detention centers, but insisted that “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,” she said.

The report noted that more than 30 percent of all interviewees provided credible and reliable reports of ill-treatment.

The report looks only at government facilities and not those of the Taliban or other anti-government elements due to lack of access.

It said the allegations of torture in Afghan National Police custody was 27.2 percent, a decrease from the previously recorded 31.2 percent.

A reduction in allegations of torture in the National Directorate of Security (NDS) custody from 19.4 to 16 percent was noted, according to the report.

The report noted some sharp regional differences in the number of allegations made by detainees.

There was particularly a high number of allegations of torture and ill-treatment concerning the police in Kandahar, with 57.7 percent of complaints.

The report also noted the disturbing reports of enforced disappearances allegedly linked to the ANP in Kandahar.

The report noted that nearly half of all persons detained by the ANP and NDS assert that they were asked to sign or thumbprint a document without knowing its content.

The UN agency expressed “particular concern with the practice of solitary and incommunicado detention in NDS custody.”

It recommended the creation of an independent torture preventive mechanism with an authority and expertise to inspect all detention facilities and recommend prosecution of perpetrators and remedial measures. EFE-EPA

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