UN, HRW Demand Inquiry Into Missing Afghan Activists

Kabul: The UN and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) have demanded the immediate launch of an inquiry into the disappearance of two Afghan activists, who were reportedly abducted from their homes, the media reported.

In a statement on Sunday, the UN Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed grave concerns over the “disappearance of two Afghan women activists, Tamana Zaryabi Paryani and Parawana Ibrahimkhel, reportedly abducted from their homes overnight on Wednesday (January 19)”, reports TOLO News.

“We urge the Taliban to provide information on their whereabouts and to protect rights of all Afghans,” the UNAMA said.

Paryani and Ibrahimkhel had staged demonstrations in support of women’s rights in Kabul.

“We are deeply concerned about the whereabouts of the two protesters who were arrested on Wednesday night. It has been four days now that they have been missing and there is no information. The Taliban have denied that they have taken these women, but they also haven’t indicated that they have any knowledge of their whereabouts or any plan to try to locate them,” said Heather Barr, Associate women’s rights director of the HRW.

Meanwhile, some women’s rights activists staged gatherings in the capital Kabul and central province of Bamiyan, where they called for the release of Paryani and Ibrahimkhel.

“We are not aware of the location of the women who have been detained despite five days passing. Why is everyone silent … at least inform us about their health condition,” said a participant.

“We call on the UN to hear the voice of Afghan women, especially the voice of female protesters, because protesting is the right of every citizen. The protestors must not be suppressed,” said Waheeda Amiri, a women’s rights activist.

However, the Taliban government have denied the alleged arrests of these two activists, saying that it has started an investigation into the case.

“The investigation is underway to find out the truth, but we haven’t found any clues about them. Efforts are underway,” TOLO News quoted Bilal Karimi, a deputy spokesman, as saying.

The disappearance of Paryani and Ibrahimkhel sparked a widespread reaction among social media users in Afghanistan.

Some prominent Afghan figures condemned the crackdown on women rights activists’ residences, saying such actions are not in accordance with human values.
 (IANS)