UN urges Taliban to ‘cease use of force’ against protesters

The UN Human Rights Office on Friday called on the Taliban to “cease the use of force” against peaceful demonstrators, journalists documenting the events in Afghanistan, and women protesters.

At a UN news conference, Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that peaceful protesters across various provinces in Afghanistan over the past four weeks faced an “increasingly violent response” by the Taliban.

“Rather than banning peaceful protests, the Taliban should cease the use of force and ensure the freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, including as a means for people to voice their concerns and exercise their right to participate in public affairs,” she said.

On Wednesday, the Taliban’s interim government in Afghanistan prohibited unauthorized assemblies in the country, saying those who want to hold protest marches or rallies must seek prior permission.

Shamdasani said the Taliban control Afghanistan, and the Human Rights Office is calling on them to abide by international human rights law.

She said at least 14 journalists were detained on Sept. 7 and five more the following day, although most had been released.

Since the Taliban took control of Kabul on Aug. 15, small groups of women have also staged rallies in three cities, including Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul, demanding that their rights be protected.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Taliban administration’s interim Interior Ministry said that a small number of people disturbed security, harassed people and disrupted normal life in the guise of demonstration.

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