Newsletter October Newsletter

Focus on Afghanistan

Amnesty International’s Report: They Don’t Treat us Like Humans – Unlawful Returns of Afghans from Turkey and Iran

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 180,000 Afghans in need of international protection have arrived in neighbouring countries since 1 January 2021, but there are considerably more left behind. This report presents Amnesty’s evidence of Afghans fleeing their home country and attempting to enter Iran or Turkey. There is clear evidence of unlawful killings, pushbacks by beatings and shooting and other unlawful returns, arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment of Afghans, including children, at the hands of both Iranian and Turkish officials. Hundreds have been killed or injured, and thousands returned to Afghanistan against their wishes. 

Based on the findings of this report, Amnesty has made a number of recommendations:

  • no country should forcibly return Afghans to either Turkey or Iran
  • the governments of both countries must respect the rights of refugees and migrants
  • no Afghan seeking asylum elsewhere should be returned to Afghanistan
  • the governments of countries hosting Afghans should actively arrange or support safe passage and evacuations from Afghanistan for all those at risk of being targeted by the Taliban, including by seeking agreements from neighbouring countries to establish land corridors
  • the international community should have a common and coordinated response to sharing the responsibility of supporting Afghan refugees and that countries of arrival of Afghans should grant them international protection.

Read the full report at

Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan

This 19-page report is the first by the recently appointed Special Rapporteur. It reviews developments since 15 August 2021, when the Taliban took power. Much is familiar, but it provides a detailed and graphic exposé that ‘the human rights crisis matches the country’s humanitarian and financial crisis’ and ‘the country is showing strong signs of descending into authoritarianism’. However, the Taliban can redeem themselves if they ‘close the gap between their words and their deeds’.  

The recommendations to the Taliban include: reviewing the rules and directives issued since their takeover, bringing them in line with international human rights standards; upholding their responsibility to protect all Afghans from threats to life and security, including minority ethnic and religious groups; reversing discriminatory policies and directives; engaging with women to ensure their equal participation; reinstating an independent human rights institution; implementing a general amnesty; explicitly prohibiting torture, and ensuring the provision of basic services for all Afghans.  

He also recommends the international community: make available adequate resources to realise human rights; strengthen accountability for human rights violations; ensure and support the safe passage of Afghans most at risk to leave the country; and adopt measures to aid the recovery of the economy of Afghanistan. Read the report at and then access A/HRC/51/6.