UN condemns ‘abhorrent’ public flogging in Afghanistan

GENEVA, 26 Nov 2022:

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday condemned the mass public floggings being carried out by the Taliban authorities in the eastern Afghan province of Logar over the last few days.

Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani described the punishments as “abominable” and a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

She further recalled such actions are prohibited under both the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to which Afghanistan is a party.

The spokesperson expressed concern that arrests, court hearings, sentences and punishments are often all carried out on the same day.

In the last two weeks, even minors have been flogged for violations of religious. Such moral codes has bee applied even on minors – Shamdasani recalled that a child was flogged 60 times for committing simple theft.

Spending time alone with another person outside marriage, stealing, “violating social behaviour rules” or maintaining “illegal relationships” are some of the behaviours punishable by flogging under the Taliban regime, which returned to power in August 2021 after 20 years.

Among the recent incidents reported by the UN, on Nov 23, three women and 11 men were given between 35 and 100 lashes at a football stadium in the Logar region for “crimes” such as those mentioned above.