Inquiry into reported killings of Afghan prisoners sought by UN human rights expert

21 December 2001

A United Nations human rights expert today called for an inquiry into the reported summary execution of prisoners in Afghanistan, and urged action against those found to be responsible.

"Reports of the death and summary execution of prisoners after capture are a source of serious concern, since such acts amount to breaches of international humanitarian law," said Kamal Hossain, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, in a statement released in Geneva.

Mr. Hossain noted that international human rights organizations had expressed grave concern at the deaths which occurred in Qala-i-Janghi and the circumstances surrounding the reported prison uprising there. "Concern has also been expressed about reported summary execution and maltreatment of prisoners," he said. "Inquiries need to be held on these reports by the authorities concerned and corrective action taken, including appropriate measures against any person found responsible for committing such breaches."

The Special Rapporteur emphasized that the international action against global terrorism must be viewed as a campaign to uphold the international rule of law. "It is important for all concerned to keep this in view in order to ensure strict compliance with international humanitarian law, especially since increasing numbers of prisoners are expected to be taken in the coming days," he said.


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