UN calls on Taliban in Afghanistan to halt corporal punishment

A UN report released on Monday shows a surge in the number of people subjected to corporal punishment in Afghanistan. It calls on the Taliban, who seized power in 2021, to halt the practice.

The report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA, says that, in a period of about six months through April, 58 women, 274 men and two boys were lashed for a variety of offenses.

This was an increase of about a six-fold from the number recorded in the prior 15 months. The offences included theft, homosexuality and adultery.

The surge came after Taliban's supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada in November 2022 reportedly ordered judges to fully enforce Islamic law.

In one instance, a woman died after being lashed by de facto police, according to the report.

UNAMA is calling on the Taliban to end corporal punishment, saying the practice is a violation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

In response to the UN report, the Taliban said 99 percent of the people of Afghanistan follow Islam and Islamic principles, so the country's laws are determined in accordance with Islamic rules and guidelines. It added that, "in the event of a conflict between international human rights law and Islamic law, the government is obliged to follow the Islamic law."