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UN Rights Body To Appoint Afghanistan Rapporteur


Taliban fighters check commuters at a road checkpoint in Kabul on October 3.

The UN Human Rights Council has voted to appoint a special rapporteur on Afghanistan to probe allegations of violations perpetrated by the Taliban and other actors involved in the war-wracked country.

The October 7 vote on the resolution brought by the European Union was 28 in favor and five against, including China, Pakistan, and Russia.

Fourteen of the Geneva-based council's 47 members abstained.

The EU resolution provides for the special rapporteur to start work in March and be joined by UN experts in legal analysis, forensics, and women's rights.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet already has a mandate from the council to monitor the situation until March.

The West has voiced serious concern about the deterioration of the human rights situation, especially women's rights, after the Taliban returned to power in August following a blitz offensive across Afghanistan amid a hasty withdrawal of U.S.-led forces that put an end to the two decades of international presence there.

In an October 7 statement, rights group Amnesty International called the appointment "an important first step towards robust UN oversight of human rights situation."

But the group said the resolution "fell short of the robust response we had hoped to see" from the council, "given the gravity of the human rights crisis enveloping Afghanistan."

"An independent, international investigative mechanism, with powers to document and gather evidence for future prosecutions, is critical to ensure justice, truth, and reparation for the crimes under international law and human rights violations that are being committed," said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general.

With reporting by Reuters
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