Taliban-controlled Afghanistan intends to run for UN Human Rights Council: report

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A UN monitoring group has highlighted the possibility that Taliban-controlled Afghanistan could win a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in October.

UN Watch tweeted a press release discussing the intention of the Maldives to run in the elections. seat on the Human Rights Council and noted that other candidates vying for vacant Asian seats include South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.

The UN Human Rights Council is no stranger to controversy, and having undemocratic, dictatorial members on the Council is nothing new. Earlier this year, Russia was expelled from the Council United Nations General Assembly.

Other disputed members include China, Cuba and Venezuela.

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Afghanistan will take one of the fourteen seats up for election. The former Afghan government retains control of the UN permanent mission, but the Taliban have nominated one of their representatives to be ambassador. The decision is left to the discretion of the nine-member credentials committee, which includes China, Russia and the United States. The committee has not yet made a decision on the Taliban’s request.

UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer called it “two steps” to Taliban to get a seat on the council.

Human Rights Council Afghanistan scorecard has more signs against it than in its support. The current government of Afghanistan has not ratified the nine major international human rights treaties, nor has it developed and published a plan to implement the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review.

Afghan Ambassador Nasir Ahmad Andisha speaks at a special session of the Human Rights Council on the situation in Afghanistan at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, August 1.  24, 2021.

Afghan Ambassador Nasir Ahmad Andisha speaks at a special session of the Human Rights Council on the situation in Afghanistan at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, August 1. 24, 2021.
(Reuters/Denis Balibuz)

On July 1, the UN held an “urgent debate” on Afghanistan to discuss concerns about The Taliban control the country. A report from the UN Mission in Afghanistan, released just a few weeks later, confirmed the validity of many of the concerns raised after this change of power.

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The report noted that the Taliban “restricted dissent by cracking down on protests and restricting media freedom.” violation of the rights of women and girlsincluding restrictions on the rights to access education and the workplace and to participate in public life.

Taliban fighters stand guard next to a Taliban flag during a gathering where Afghan Hazaras elsewhere pledged support to the country's new Taliban rulers in Kabul, November.  25, 2021.

Taliban fighters stand guard next to a Taliban flag during a gathering where Afghan Hazaras elsewhere pledged support to the country’s new Taliban rulers in Kabul, November. 25, 2021.
(Aref Karimi/AFP via Getty Images)

The report raises concerns that Taliban act “with impunity” and the nationwide economic, financial and humanitarian crisis has exacerbated the situation.

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“Education is not only a basic human right, but also the key to the development of a nation,” said Markus Potzel, acting UN Special Representative for Afghanistan.

Taliban forces block the roads around the airport as a woman wearing a burqa walks by in Kabul, Afghanistan.  27, 2021.

Taliban forces block the roads around the airport as a woman wearing a burqa walks by in Kabul, Afghanistan. 27, 2021.
(REUTERS/Stringer)

“It is high time for all Afghans to live in peace and rebuild their lives after 20 years of armed conflict,” he added. “Our monitoring shows that, despite the improvement in the security situation since August 15, the people of Afghanistan, in particular women and girls, are deprived of the opportunity to fully enjoy their human rights.”

At least 59% of the population lives in the need for humanitarian aid, This is a significant increase of six million people since the beginning of 2021, according to the report.

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The representative of the UN Human Rights Council emphasized that the Taliban have no representation in any UN body and that it is Afghanistan that has a representative in the permanent mission. The representative of the General Assembly did not answer questions UN position on the expected decision.

USA withdrew from the Human Rights Council in 2018 over concerns that the group was defending human rights abusers and was a “cesspool of political bias”. President Biden sought re-election to the council shortly after taking office, securing his seat for the 2022-2024 term.