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UN Rights Chief Cites Credible Reports Of Taliban Executions, Restrictions On Women

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet says she has received credible reports of serious violations committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, including summary executions of civilians and restrictions on women.

Bachelet urged the UN Human Rights Council, holding an emergency session on August 24 at the request of Pakistan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to set up a mechanism to closely monitor Taliban actions.

The meeting comes as U.S. troops step up efforts to airlift thousands of people out of Kabul after the Taliban warned that evacuations could continue only for another week.

Bachelet called on the Taliban to commit to respecting the rights of women and girls, and ethnic and religious minorities, and refrain from reprisals.

"I strongly urge the Taliban to adopt norms of responsive governance and human rights, and to work to reestablish social cohesion and reconciliation, including through respect for the rights of all who have suffered during the decades of conflict," Bachelet told the council.

The group has pledged to rule differently than during its brutal regime of the 1990s that saw women confined to their homes, most entertainment banned, and punishments including stonings and public executions.

But their promises are being treated with skepticism amid reports that militants have been going door-to-door in recent days searching for opponents.

"A fundamental red line will be the Taliban's treatment of women and girls, and respect for their rights to liberty, freedom of movement, education, self expression and employment, guided by international human rights norms," Bachelet told the council.

"In particular, ensuring access to quality secondary education for girls will be an essential indicator of commitment to human rights."

"The onus is now fully on the Taliban to translate these commitments into reality," she said.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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