Afghanistan: UN recommend torture prevention institution

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

More than half the detainees interviewed by the UN in Afghanistan experienced ill-treatment and torture, a United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan / OHCHR report has found.

The report, available here, is based on interviews with 635 conflict-related detainees held by Afghan police and security authorities, and visits to 89 detention facilities in 30 provinces in addition to other research. The finding of this report should be a matter of concern in and of itself, but also for foreign military forces who plan to hand detainees over when exiting the country.

The UN report recommends the Afghan government establish an independent oversight mechanism, similar to that required under the  UN Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (which the Afghani government has not yet ratified). Afghanistan comes before the UN Human Rights Council for its second cycle UPR review in early 2014 – a commitment to OPCAT ratification before then would be a timely way to take steps to prevent ill treatment in detention.