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10-08-2021 | Edited News

UNOG Bi-weekly press briefing Afghanistan Violence 10 August 2021

ENG

STORY: Afghanistan Violence – OHCHR

TRT: 3’15”
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH 
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 

DATELINE: 10 August 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 

 

SHOTLIST

 

  1. Exterior wide shot, United Nations flag flying, a sunny day.
  2. Wide shot, press conference venue, UN Geneva.
  3. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):  “We’ve already documented 183 civilians, but we do fear that this is really just the tip of the iceberg. The 1,181 who have already documented to be injured, we don’t know how many of them might succumb to their injuries. People are living in fear and dread. Women are already being killed and shot for breaching rules that have been imposed on what they can wear and where they can move without a male escort. It’s time for the international community to prioritise peace in Afghanistan”.
  4. Medium shot, the spokesperson on the screen.
  5. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “It is clearly no coincidence that these human rights violations have returned. The Taliban is imposing these restrictions on women, these very unacceptable human rights violations which as I said will lead to another cascade of human rights violations. When you take away a woman’s freedom of movement you are limiting her ability to be of use to her family. Even when you’ve got family members who have been critically injured in the course of the conflict, being able to take a wounded child to a hospital without a male escort is not possible, this is unacceptable”. 
  6. Medium shot, participants are listening and taking notes.
  7. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “There are already reports of women having been flogged and beaten in public because they breached the prescribed rules. In one case in Balkh Province, on the 3rd of August a women’s rights activist was shot and killed for breaching the rules”.
  8. Medium shot, journalist with camera. 
  9. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “In the areas that have already been captured by the Taliban and in contested areas, the offices have been receiving reports of summary executions, attacks against current and former government officials and their family members, military use and destruction of homes, schools and clinics and the laying of large numbers of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), including pressure-plate IED which function as anti-personnel landmines”. 
  10. Medium shot, TV screen showing broadcast image of spokespersons. 
  11. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “The number of civilian causalities has already been mounting and now it has reached a level that could be calamitous”. 
  12. Medium shot, podium with Ravina Shamdasani speaking.
  13. SOUNDBITE: (ENGLISH) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “The Taliban as I said, also has a duty in the areas under their control to ensure that there are no reprisals against journalists doing their job. Now unfortunately, we are already seeing that some radio stations have stopped broadcasting and there are serious curbs on the freedom of expression in these areas”. 
  14. Close-up, participant, hand with pen. 
  15. Close-up, participants taking notes. 
  16. Close-up, hands typing.
  17. Wide shot, press conference proceedings.

UN rights chief warns of likely war crimes in Afghanistan as Taliban reclaims control

Violence against Afghan civilians by Taliban fighters “could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity” UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday, before urging a return to peace negotiations in Doha. 

Among the alleged violations, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted "deeply disturbing reports" of the summary execution of surrendering government troops in the face of the Taliban offensive, and the killing of a female rights defender.

“Parties to the conflict must stop fighting to prevent more bloodshed,” Ms. Bachelet said in a statement. “The Taliban must cease their military operations in cities. Unless all parties return to the negotiating table and reach a peaceful settlement, the already atrocious situation for so many Afghans will become much worse.”

Since 9 July in four cities alone – Lashkar Gah, Kandahar, Herat and Kunduz – at least 183 civilians have been killed and 1,181 injured, including children, according to the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR).

The real figure “will be much higher”, Ms. Bachelet said, as “these are just the civilian casualties we have managed to document”.

Speaking for the High Commissioner, OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani underscored how Taliban violence had targeted women, rights defenders and journalists. “People are living in fear and dread,” she said. “Women are already being killed and shot for breaching rules that have been imposed on what they can wear and where they can move without a male escort.”

Ms. Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva that freedom of expression has also been curbed, as radio stations go off air.

“There are already reports of women having been flogged and beaten in public because they breached the prescribed rules,” she said. “In one case in Balkh province, on 3 August, a women’s rights activist was shot and killed for breaching the rules.”

OHCHR has also received reports of “summary executions, attacks against current and former government officials and their family members, destruction of homes, schools and clinics and the laying of large numbers of IEDs (improvised explosive devices)”, in areas already captured by the Taliban and in contested areas.

Even before the latest Taliban attacks on urban centres, the UN documented an unprecedented increase in the number of civilian casualties.

Amid the continuing pull-out of international and US forces, an estimated 192 district administrative centres have fallen to the Taliban, with attacks on provincial capitals including Qala-e-Naw, Kandahar, Lashkar Gah, Herat, Faizabad, Ghazni, Maimana, Gardez, Faizabad, Pul-e- Khumri, and Mazar-e-Sharif, and the takeover of at least six provincial capitals -  Zaranj in Nimroz province, Sheberghan in Jawzjan province, Kunduz City in Kunduz province, Taloqan in Takhar province,  Sar-e-Pul  in Sar-e-Pul  province and Aybak in Samangan province.

In an appeal to all parties to the conflict to stop fighting “to prevent more bloodshed”, the High Commissioner urged the Taliban to cease all military operations in cities. “Unless all parties return to the negotiating table and reach a peaceful settlement, the already atrocious situation for so many Afghans will become much worse,” she said.

The UN rights chief also urged all States to use their influence – bilaterally and multilaterally – to bring the hostilities to an end, noting in her statement the many opportunities for constructive engagement by the belligerents at peace-related meetings taking place this week in Doha. 

“States have a duty to use any leverage they have to de-escalate the situation and reinvigorate peace processes. The fighting must be brought to an end,” the High Commissioner said.

According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office, most of the civilian harm has been caused by ground engagements.

Airstrikes have also resulted in civilian casualties, Ms. Bachelet’s statement noted, with at least 241,000 people displaced since the start of the May Taliban offensive.

ends


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UNOG Bi-weekly press briefing Afghanistan Violence 10 August 2021 / 3:15

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