A Britain-based rights group unveiled an interactive map on Thursday documenting rampant human rights violations and violence against civilians since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan nearly two years ago.
The documented abuses, committed by both the Taliban and armed groups such as Islamic State, reflect a bleak situation in afghanistan. The project of the independent non-profit group Center for Information Resilience aims to draw attention to the increase in abuses against civilians, journalists and ethnic minorities in the country.
The map, which shows data on more than 1,300 incidents since August 17, 2021, is part of the group’s Afghan Witness initiative.
“The map reveals the violence and human rights abuses occurring under the Taliban regime against women, independent journalists and minorities, sometimes in the form of targeted beatings in the street or staged public punishment, as well as violence to suppress peaceful protest and the armed resistance”said Benjamin Den Braber, chief analyst at Afghan Witness.
The map, he noted, is “a transparent record of verified human rights violations in Afghanistan.”
“What we can verify is just the tip of the iceberg of human rights violations in Afghanistanmany abuses are hidden and never recorded on the internet”, den Braber pointed out.
The British-based center has used open source data and techniques to investigate human rights abuses, war crimes and disinformation in Afghanistan, Ukraine and Myanmar. To develop the map, the Afghan Witness team collaborated with C4ADS, a US-based group that uses data analysis and technology to shed light on conflict, instability, environmental crimes, and human rights violations.
“Our ability to tell the stories of Taliban human rights violations through visualization is a powerful tool,” said Lawrence Henderson, Program Director at C4ADS.
A report released this month by the United Nations strongly criticized the Taliban for carrying out public executions, whippings and stonings and urged the country’s rulers to stop such practices. Barely in the last six months, 274 men, 58 women and two children were caned in public in Afghanistan, according to the report of the UN mission in Afghanistan.
The Taliban took control of the country in mid-April 2021, in the final weeks of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country. Despite their initial promises of a more moderate government than their previous run in power in the 1990s, they were quick to crack down on their strict interpretation of Islamic law, or sharia.
In the months after they took power, the Taliban gradually tightened their restrictions on women, expelling them from public spaces such as parks and gyms, and banning the education of girls starting in the sixth grade.
The restrictions have sparked an international scandal and increased the isolation of the country in the midst of a collapsing economy, exacerbating its humanitarian crisis.
The Afghan Witness map contains more than 450 pieces of video showing attacks on civilians, more than 100 videos of attacks on minority Shia and Hazara communities, and more than 350 videos of the protests. Users can search for a specific incident with keywords and view images, original tweets, or an event report.
“Afghan Witness investigates, verifies where possible and archives data in the hope that one day, accountability mechanisms will bring those responsible to justice,” said David Osborn, team lead at Afghan Witness.
A statement released Thursday alongside the map, which can be accessed on the Center for Information Resilience’s website, said the project “will continue to work with journalists around the world and civil society in Afghanistan to increase access to credible sources.” You need information.”
(with information from AP)
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