UN Human Rights Council calls special session after Taliban seizes Afghan capital

Special Aug. 24 meeting to discuss ‘serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan’

GENEVA (AA) – The UN Human Rights Council announced Tuesday that it will hold a special session on Aug. 24 to address “the serious human rights concerns and situation in Afghanistan.”

The hybrid virtual meeting will take place at Geneva’s Palais des Nations, said the council’s statement.

It follows a joint request by Pakistan, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) coordinator on human rights and humanitarian issues, and Afghanistan.

The call had 89 countries’ support and came a day after the Taliban, designated by the UN Security Council as a terrorist group, seized control of the capital Kabul.

To convene a special session, the support of one-third of the 47 council members is needed.

The request was supported by 29 members: Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Gabon, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, the UK and Uzbekistan.

Turkey, Albania, Egypt, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Sweden, Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates are among 60 observer states supporting the session.

Shortly before calling the meeting, Karima Bennoune, a UN Special Rapporteur, warned of a “cultural disaster” after Kabul fell and urged states to provide urgent assistance to human rights defenders, those working on women’s and cultural rights, as well as artists, trying to flee.

“It is deplorable that the world has abandoned Afghanistan to a fundamentalist group like the Taliban, whose catastrophic…record, including…gender apartheid, use of cruel punishments and systematic destruction of cultural heritage, when in power, is well documented,” said Bennoune.


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