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Afghanistan: Risk Of Reprisals

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

13 November 2001 ASA 11/029/2001 200/01

The civilian population of Afghanistan has again been put at risk by the failure of the international community to protect them, Amnesty International said today as the Northern Alliance reached Kabul and reports were received of the execution of captured fighters.

"The rapid advance of the Northern Alliance into Kabul without any international arrangements to safeguard civilians is a clear indication that the military agenda has overtaken human rights concerns", Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International said.

"The Afghan population is at the mercy of armed political groups with an appalling human rights record. We have the gravest concerns for the people of Kabul who are now at high risk of reprisal attacks and killings." The Secretary General also expressed concern about the summary execution of soldiers adding, "Human rights abuses committed by the Taleban cannot be used to justify new abuses by the Northern Alliance; these killings must stop."

Highlighting in particular the responsibility of the US, UK and Russia as permanent members of the UN Security Council, Irene Khan added, "Those countries which supplied arms to and supported the Northern Alliance are responsible for ensuring that the Alliance conducts itself within international humanitarian law and does not use its arms to commit further abuses. If there is bloodshed, the blood is also on their hands. They must fulfil their responsibility and ensure that civilians are protected, and ensure that the political future of Afghanistan is a fair and inclusive one, based on respect for human rights without discrimination."

Read Amnesty International's latest report on Afghanistan, "Afghanistan, Making human rights the agenda" on the web at: http://www.web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/recent/asa110232001?opendocument

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