Afghanistan: UN welcomes Government moves to address detainee torture
The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) today welcomed the announcement of recommendations by the Government to stem torture, ill-treatment and prolonged illegal detention in the country.
“UNAMA welcomes the Government’s attention and increased efforts to address this serious problem in Afghan detention facilities,” the Mission stated in a press release, noting the announcement of the main findings of a fact-finding delegation on the issue tasked by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, pending release of the full report.
The delegation’s work followed the release last month of a UNAMA report that found that more than half of detainees that were interviewed between October 2011 and October 2012 experienced torture or other ill-treatment. The report expressed particular concern over facilities run by the national police and the National Directorate of Security, or NDS.
“UNAMA looks forward to receiving and reviewing the delegation’s report and providing follow-up suggestions to improve detention policies and practices,” the Mission stated, noting that the delegation’s findings, as reported, recognized the prevalence of torture in Afghan facilities.
In October 2012, following new reports of torture at several NDS and police facilities, including locations where the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had transferred detainees, the Force suspended transfers for a second time.
ISAF subsequently stopped transferring detainees to several Afghan facilities and implemented a process limiting transfer to a reduced number of Afghan facilities and increasing monitoring and accountability.
In its January report, UNAMA stated that its findings reinforce the urgent and long-term need for reforms in the judiciary, prosecution and law enforcement sectors and offered 64 recommendations to the Government and international partners.
In addition to other measures, UNAMA recommended the creation of an independent national preventive mechanism on torture described in the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.