Daily Archives: 11/05/2015

Afghanistan: UN condemns Taliban attack on prosecutors

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) [official website] on Monday condemned [press release] Sunday’s suicide attack targeting a bus carrying civilian passengers working for the Attorney General’s office. The attack killed five prosecutors and injured 19 people. The Taliban claimed responsibility, making this their twelfth attack in 2015 against legal professionals, killing a total of about 114 civilians. UNAMA stated that Afghanistan and the Taliban are bound by international humanitarian law, which forbids all attacks on civilians.

Afghanistan has been the target of much criticism regarding human rights issues. Last month UNAMA reported an increase in civilian casualties [JURIST report] from ground engagements in Afghanistan compared to the same time last year, with indications that the number will continue to rise in the coming months. Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported last month that Afghanistan women’s rights activists are facing increased violence [JURIST report] and a lack of governmental support. UNAMA announced in February that Afghanistan has made “some progress” [JURIST report] toward preventing the torture of government detainees. Also in February UNAMA released a report indicating a 22 percent increase in civilian causalities [JURIST report] in 2014, making 2014 the deadliest year in Afghanistan since 2009. In November the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women called on the government of Afghanistan [JURIST report] and the international community to adopt sustainable measures to address violence against women in the country. UNAMA and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] released a study last February that raised concern over the treatment of women [JURIST report] in the country.


China: China Defends Prolonged Detention of Pu Zhiqiang

Civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was detained in May 2014 after attending a gathering to mark the 25th anniversary of the June 4, 1989, military crackdown on protesters in Beijing. Several other participants were also detained but have since been released; Pu’s lawyer and niece, Qu Zhenhong, was detained a few days later and is still being held as part of the same case.

Pu’s case has been repeatedly delayed by the procuratorate, but the most recent delay will be the last, according to China Human Rights Defenders:

Pu’s lawyer has confirmed that this is the last action that authorities are permitted to do in order to prolong his detention, according to Chinese law. “He can either be sent to trial or freed” on May 20, the lawyer said. [Source]

Lawyers in Pu’s case believe that prosecutors haven’t found enough evidence to convict him.