Afghanistan: NGO arrests

Delivered by

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Jeremy Laurence




We have received deeply worrying reports that yesterday (Thursday) afternoon in Kabul, a number of de facto security officials disrupted a press conference by a women’s civil society organisation, arresting one woman, Zarifa Yaqobi, and four of her male colleagues. Sources report that police officers detained the remaining female participants in the press conference room for about an hour. They reportedly conducted body searches and examined the women’s phones, before releasing them.

Zarifa Yaqobi and the four male colleagues remain in detention. We are concerned about the welfare of these five individuals and have sought information from the de facto authorities regarding their detention.

All Afghans have the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and opinion, without fear of arrest or intimidation. We urge the de factoauthorities to respect these rights.

Afghanistan as a State remains a party to a number of core international human rights treaties and conventions, including the Convention against Torture. We call on the de facto authorities to respect the rights of all those in detention.