Widespread concern voiced at detainee torture
KABUL (PAN): The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), European Union and Britain on Monday expressed grave concern at torture of inmates in Afghan-run prisons, calling for urgent jail reforms and effective steps to address the issue.
The United Nations mission in Afghanistan, calling prisoner abuse a serious concern, on Sunday alleged that rampant torture persisted in numerous Afghan-run detention facilities across the country.
UNAMA said in a report the assessment was based on interviews with 635 conflict-related detainees held by Afghan police, intelligence, army and local police during visits to 89 detention centres in 30 provinces.
ISAF’s military spokesman Gunter Katz, calling the UNAMA report regarding prisoners’ torture and violation of the rights credible, said they would seriously deal with the problem.
Addressing a news conference in Kabul, he recalled the government of President Hamid Karzai had promised respect for human rights at the Tokyo Conference in July 2012.
Katz also reiterated the NATO-led force’s commitment to humane treatment of prisoners in line with Geneva Convention and all international laws on detention centres.
He added: "We consider the United Nations assessment as credible and, therefore, stopped prisoner transfers. We are seriously following all reports about violations of human rights."
Separately, the European Union, voicing its deep concern at prisoner mistreatment, called torture one the most serious violations of human rights and dignity.
While hailing UN's efforts to monitor detention centres, the EU asked all parties concerned to guarantee prisoners’ fundamental rights, eradicate all forms of torture and adhere to relevant international norms.
In a statement, EU Special Representative to Afghanistan Vygaudas Ušackas noted UNAMA’s finding that mistreatment of detainees was not a policy of the Afghan government and hailed the measures already taken by the authorities to end the abusive practices.
The Britain embassy in Kabul, meanwhile, also voiced concerns at the situation of prisons and detention centres in the country. "We are deeply concerned by the UNAMA report about ill-treatment of inmates in Afghanistan.
A statement from the embassy said: "We welcome the measures that were previously taken by the Afghan government to end torture of inmates. The steps were cited in the report."
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