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Afghanistan: Religious minorities “remain stranded under constant fear of death”

  • UN: Human rights experts call on governments to “not lose sight of their dire plight”
  • The circulation of the High Commissioner’s report on the human rights situation in Afghanistan was delayed until 4 March. This left little time for States and civil society organizations to prepare to discuss it on 7 March.
  • Resolution 48/1 on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan was adopted by the Human Rights Council last September

The following quote may be attributed to Giorgio Mazzoli, Legal Officer, United Nations for ADF International in Geneva regarding the situation of religious minorities in Afghanistan. He made an oral statement at the 49th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council on the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan on 7 March 2022.:

“ADF International regrets that the delay in circulation of the High Commissioner’s report on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan has hampered the engagement of Council members and observers, including civil society organizations, in today’s interactive dialogue on the continued critical human rights situation in the country.

We salute the recent adoption of resolution 48/1, in which the Human Rights Council heeded the appeal of faith-based organizations and other human rights groups to condemn all acts of religiously motivated violence, and called for strict respect for freedom of religion or belief in Afghanistan. We view the decision to establish the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan as an important step forward to guarantee sustained attention to, and promote accountability for, the ongoing violations and abuses of human rights in the country. We look forward to the upcoming appointment of the mandate holder by the Council, and stand ready to offer our support in the successful fulfillment of this vital mandate, which should complement, not substitute, the monitoring efforts of UNAMA on the ground.

The recent decision by the de facto authorities to halt evacuations from Afghanistan until the situation improves abroad for those who have already left flies in the face of the ongoing, systematic persecution faced by the thousands of persons belonging to vulnerable religious and belief minorities, including particularly Christian converts and atheists, who remain stranded in the country under constant fear of death. We urge this Council, including its special procedures, to not lose sight of their dire plight and to pursue every possible avenue to combat the persistent, unabated impunity for these serious human rights violations.”

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