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U-N Expert Calls for Inquiry into Rights Violations During 23-Years of Afghan Conflict - 2002-10-23


A U-N human rights expert is calling for an international commission to investigate human rights violations in Afghanistan over more than two decades.

Pakistani lawyer Asma Jahangir is the U-N special rapporteur on human rights and extra-judicial or arbitrary executions. She spoke at a news conference in Kabul today (Wednesday) following a fact-finding tour of Afghanistan.

Ms. Jahangir said she would soon file a report with recommendations to the U-N Commission on Human Rights, which is to convene early next year (in March).

Ms. Jahangir said she would request that an independent, impartial commission of inquiry document a comprehensive account of grave human rights violations over the past 23 years of conflict in Afghanistan.

She said the commission would be the first step toward a "mechanism to bring perpetrators to justice." She added the continuing cycle of ethnic, political and territorial violence in Afghanistan can not be halted until the practice of granting immunity is ended and the process of accountability is enforced.

Thousands of Afghan refugees or internally displaced people are reluctant to return to their homes for fear of retribution for previous attacks.

During her 10-day tour, Ms. Jahangir visited a mass grave in northern Afghanistan and met with families of victims and witnesses of extra-judicial killings in several cities, including Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif

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